Once you’ve figured out your preferences in your adoption, what is next? The dreaded adoption wait. If you’re working with an adoption advisor (otherwise known as adoption consultant) like Purl, you’re likely getting on the waitlist for many different attorneys and agencies. You might be including some adoption outreach, hoping to connect with an expectant family that way. You are then waiting for an expectant family to choose you or find you through your outreach, typically speeding up your adoption journey. But it can take only a few days, weeks or months, or even a few years to be selected, but your chances are much better in a multi-faceted approach (in fact, none of our Purl families have waited over a year to match with an expectant family).
Each adoption professional does things a little differently, but if you match through an attorney or agency, typically hopeful adoptive parents are getting the opportunity to see a summary of an adoption opportunity, (what I typically call “situations”). Hopeful adoptive families then get to decide whether they want to “present” to that expectant family considering adoption. As I discussed in a previous post, it is awkward that you are basically saying yes or no to a child.
If you decide to present to an expectant family considering adoption, your family profile is typically given to that expectant family when they decide they are ready to choose the adoptive parents for their child, likely when they are relatively comfortable with their adoption plan. After you’ve decided to present your profile, the wait to learn whether you have been selected can be a day up to even a few weeks, and that wait can be excruciating. I have had Purl families be chosen as the adoptive parents the first time they presented (and the same day they presented), and I’ve had others not get chosen until their 20th presentation (some waiting weeks for an answer). The profile matters some, but more often than not it is just the right expectant family connecting the right hopeful adoptive couple at that time. Sometimes the expectant family confirms the match through a telephone call, but sometimes the match is purely made through the review of family profiles.
Once there is a match, typically some amount of adoption expenses are due to the agency or attorney making the match. If it is an agency that has made the match, it can be half of the total cost of the adoption, it can be the total expectant costs if it is close to the birth, or we even work with agencies that don’t take any money until the expectant family signs consents to the adoption. Some agencies or attorneys have a lot of money at risk in the event the expectant family decides to parent, and others you lose little or even none at all. What is interesting is that every adoption professional works completely differently, so we help our Purl families navigate the different adoption professionals’ policies and practices, and determine both the financial and emotional risk of the adoption opportunity. But this is just the beginning of this phase of the adoption, just because you are chosen as adoptive parents for the child, it doesn’t mean that child is yours. I like to think of it as a “promise ring”, with no real commitment to get engaged or set a wedding date. Oftentimes a hopeful adoptive family is walking alongside an expectant woman for half of her pregnancy, but no paperwork is effective or irrevocable until some period after the birth of the child. That woman could have every intent to place her child in the arms of another, but then can’t bring herself to do that once she’s birthed and held her child.