Paula & Tom share an interview about their adoption journey...
At the start of our adoption journey we researched a few different adoption agencies online and we talked to friends and acquaintances that had adopted to get their experience and perspective. It was surprising to learn about the range of options available. We didn’t even realize that you could pursue or use an out-of-state agency until we talked with friends of friends, and they told us their experience.
We received lots of emotional support from family and friends. We had a great deal of encouragement and people willing to answer questions and give us advice when we asked for it. Our main advice for others would be to educate yourself. There are many unknowns with adoption until it is finalized. The process can be very convoluted and difficult, there are no guarantees. The laws vary in each state, and part of the reason we sought to use an out-of-state agency is that the laws in WI aren’t all that favorable to adoptive parents. The cost can also vary greatly, depending on the type of agency you use, whether it’s an in-state or interstate adoption, and whether it’s domestic or foreign. You can’t talk to too many people. If you’re matched with a birth mom in another state, make sure there are attorneys involved in both states (yours and the state the child is born in) to ensure you’re managing the legal aspects correctly, which again can be complex. You will spend more money, but the peace of mind is worth it.
Our child’s birth parents found us through an adoptive parent profile. They contacted the agency through the phone number on our profile and we were connected. Our first connection felt like a first date. We wanted to leave a good first impression and we also wanted to learn more. We talked to our child’s birth parents on the phone several times, but we also met them in person, which we both highly recommend. We were nervous and sometimes didn’t know what to say and that’s OK! We adopted a newborn and were at the hospital for her birth, and having met her birth parents in advance made the hospital experience MUCH less awkward. To this day we have used email to communicate with our child’s birth mom, typically on a monthly basis. We had a Skype call with our child’s birth mom and her parents on our daughter’s first birthday. We thought it would be a short call, but we ended up talking for over an hour!
We were lucky that we didn’t have any false starts in our adoption journey. Our social worker mentioned something that stuck with me. She recommended that we look at our child’s birth parents’ social media profiles. Scammers often post info on Facebook and other social media pages. It’s OK to be nosey! Another piece of advice we have to someone starting out in the adoption process is to hire an adoption attorney. Learn as much as you can about adoption and what can go wrong. Talk to friends / family that have gone through the process We also suggest to literally take it one day at a time. It’s tough to balance emotionally because you want to be excited for this new person to come into your life, but there are no guarantees. Having said that, when you’re matched, be happy! This is a joyous time, and if it turns out to be a false start, grieve. It’s a loss that needs to be honored.