Guest Author - Karen Ledbetter
If your heart´s desire is to adopt a newborn of your own race, domestic adoption through a private agency may be your best option, especially if you feel that counseling for a birth mother is a vital part of a successful adoption. Many adoptive parents consider birth-mother counseling a major advantage to private-agency adoption.
Many of today´s domestic adoptions contain some degree of openness, and private agencies are gradually accepting this fact. Don´t let the idea of openness intimidate you. Open adoption can be a very positive experience for everyone involved. Open adoption can mean anything from occasional correspondence with the birth family to regular visits with the birth family, or somewhere in between. What works great for one family may not be the best degree of openness for another.
Your agency may ask you to submit a profile for their birth mothers to review. After being selected by a birth mother, you may have the opportunity to meet her. Depending on your agency´s policies, you may or may not share identifying information, such as last names and street addresses, with your baby´s birth mother. You may have the opportunity to maintain telephone and/or correspondence contact with Birth Mother before Baby´s birth. Perhaps you´ll decide to continue contact long after Baby is placed in your loving arms. Although there may be rare instances where continued contact may not be in the child´s best interest, most families involved in open adoptions that are emotionally healthy are strong advocates of this type of adoption.
Advantages to continued contact between the adoptive and birth families include access to regularly updated family medical histories and nearly instant answers to a child´s questions about his/her birth family and his/her adoption.
According to several adoptive parents, expense is a major disadvantage to domestic private agency adoption. Adopting across state lines can make the costs even higher. You may have to pay two different agencies if you adopt across state lines--one in your state for the home study and post-placement follow-up visits, and the agency that actually places Baby in your arms. You may also have to spend a couple weeks away from home while awaiting Interstate Compact Clearance, adding even more to the costs.
Another disadvantage to this type of adoption is the potential legal risk involved. Baby may join your family before his/her birth parents’ rights are fully terminated. This means that during this period of time Birth Mother (or Birth Father) my change his/her mind about adoption and decide to parent Baby. The legal risk period varies from a few days to months, depending on the state you adopt from.
Despite the costs and legal risks, domestic private-agency adoption can be a wonderful experience. If you think this adoption option is for you, you´ll find a gold mine of information from families who have been through this type of adoption. Don´t be afraid to network!