The fact of international adoption is that it is a completely uncertain territory for adoptive families. We in the adoption community saw the closing of Guatemalan adoptions several years ago, leaving many families frozen in time, unable to move forward with their adoption plans, yet unable to regain their adoption funds to move forward into an adoption elsewhere. Many of these families were already engaged in specific adoption plans of a specific child, only waiting for approval to travel and bring their child or children home. Families were devastated at the news of the Guatemalan government no longer allowing adoptions to leave its borders.
In recent months and years, we have seen many Asian, Eastern European, and even African countries also close their doors to American adoptive families. We have seen severe restriction of the families they will allow to adopt, changing their requirements mid-adoption, again, leaving families in the lurch, unable to regain their adoption funds.
Most families moving forward into adoption are at a time in their lives where they are truly ready and prepared for parenting. They’ve waited and planned, and now many families have seen precious time wasted, and have suffered severe disappointment with the news from their agency that they will no longer be able to adopt from their country of choice, or that there will be a four to five-year wait for a child. This is devastating to adoptive families, especially when they have already been matched with a specific child.
International adoption has always been risky and not for the faint of heart, as no adoption is. It takes the strong heart of a mother and a father to forge ahead into the unknown, with nothing but faith and a plan to bring their son or daughter home.
There are other options many families have never allowed themselves the opportunity to consider. Right here in the United States, we see thousands of women in crisis pregnancies calling out for help, hoping someone out there will be willing to bring their baby home and raise him or her as their own.
Adoptive families have much to consider when choosing their adoption path. Many are hesitant about domestic adoption, because most birth mothers in the U.S. seek families willing to at least share letters and photos after the adoption. Many birth mothers seek a family willing to have an in-person visit with the family, maybe once a year for just a few hours at a time in a neutral location. Because of fear, adoptive families miss out on these great situations, where the fact is that it is possible for the birth mother to care about the child, and yet want to choose a stable loving family with the desire to parent. If a family is open to contact with a birth mother after the adoption, they significantly lessen their wait time, sometimes bringing their babies home in less than a year.
Adoptive families wonder: Why does a birth mother wish to remain in contact, if she doesn’t even want to parent the child? The answer is multi-faceted. Overwhelmingly, many birth mothers desire contact simply because they would like that peace of mind in knowing they made the right choice. If a birth mother has received quality support and care in her adoption process, she understands that an adoption is permanent, and has no desire to take part in the parenting. Birth mothers who seek an open or semi-open adoption want to ensure that their birth child never has to search for their biological family, or search for answers. Birth mothers can ensure they are always available for medical needs and information, and should the adoptive parents need to contact her, they have kept the lines of communication open.
Many times with open and semi-open adoption, the family and the birth mother have exchanged some form of information before the baby is born. They usually are able to meet in the hospital for the first time at the birth of the child. By this time, in most cases, the birth mother and adoptive family have formed a bond. They are both there for the same exciting event, to bring this new little life out into the world. They are both there for the same reasons, to make sure this little boy or girl is raised with all the goodness in life that a child could ever hope for.
After an amazing event like this, where a birth mother places her child directly into the waiting arms of the family – most adoptive parents cannot imagine walking away and not keeping in touch with the birth mother. If they were hesitant about birth mothers before, they are now completely in awe of the blessing this birth mother has given them. They are amazed at the courage and beauty in the birth mother’s choice to willingly entrust them with their new child. They are overjoyed that they now have their baby in their arms, and the last thing they want is for their birth mother to be forgotten.
There is so much to consider with a domestic adoption. Touching the life of a birth mother is one of the major blessings that come with no other type of adoption. There is also far less travel and expense involved. Most domestic adoptions can take far less time than international adoptions, and the process is streamlined because you are working only with American entities and laws. With domestic adoption, when a birth mother voluntarily seeks an adoption plan, overwhelmingly infants are born completely healthy and with few medical complications. In some domestic adoption programs, adoptive families even have access to the medical records of the birth mother and the baby.
Yes, there are still unknowns with domestic adoption – but they are far fewer than the unknowns and uncertainty of international adoption. Adoptive families who have been closed out of their international adoption plans, or who have been told the wait will be several years, can have renewed hope in exploring a domestic adoption.
May you be blessed as you endeavor to seek the baby or child that God has meant for your family!
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