Once you’ve figured out your preferences in your adoption and finished your family profile, 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.
The wait can be 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. Most of our Purl families match (and adopt) within a year of going active well ahead of the average of 2 years in the industry, but the impact of COVID, lower birth rates, and the good news of moms being empowered to parent has impacted wait times for some prospective adoptive parents. 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 35th presentation (some waiting weeks for an answer). Sometimes you might see many adoption opportunities in a week and have to choose between opportunities to present to, and other times there are month-long draughts of very few opportunities. There is no rhyme or reason, and no consistency. It can be so tough, I personally have experienced it in my own journey, and one of our longer waiting Purl Families wrote about her experience here (written shortly before they would get the call telling them their daughter had been born). The profile matters some, but more often than not it is just the right expectant family connecting with the right prospective adoptive couple at that time. We encourage families to spend however long they are waiting to learn more about adoption, listening to all members of the adoption triad, but particularly adoptees, to be better prepared when their child comes.
Each adoption professional does things a little differently, but if you are working through an attorney or agency, typically prospective adoptive parents are getting the opportunity to see a summary of an adoption opportunity. Prospective 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. We encourage families to consider these summaries carefully, and ensure you’re willing to honor what the expectant family is looking for in regards to contact post adoption, but knowing that can change over time.
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 too can be excruciating. IF you are chosen by an expectant family, 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 is often about 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 prospective 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.