If there’s anyone we know who could teach a master class in hope and patience, it’s surely waiting adoptive parents.
Abrazo’s Parents-in-Waiting know a thing or two about resilience, after all, having weathered the many disappointments of infertility and fertility treatment. (And that’s even before they get in the waiting-to-adopt line.)
In order to become a hopeful adoptive parent at Abrazo, couples need to be over the age of 25, legally-married for a year or more, financially-sound, emotionally-stable, and have documented infertility.
Those are just the prerequisites to get their foot in the door.
What the Adoption Process Requires
In order to adopt successfully here, waiting adoptive parents have to get fingerprinted, get tested for HIV and undergo an FBI check. They also must pass a homestudy, which requires at least five face-to-face interviews with a Master’s level social worker who comes inspect their home, as well. They also need to spend a weekend with Abrazo’s staff at a Parents of Tomorrow orientation weekend. They’ll need to have plenty of funds saved up for the adoption process. And they know the process typically requires them to help cover the pregnancy-related expenses of another household without any promise that a placement will result… and to sometimes do so more than once.
Out-of-state couples adopting from Abrazo make arrangements for at least four trips to our state in the course of their adoption process. They know they may be called to come for placement at any time, with or without adequate advance notice, and stay in-state for at least 7-10 business days after placement.
And all of Abrazo’s parents, whether in-state or not, provide our office with quarterly homework documenting their preparation for parenthood, as well as monthly reports after becoming parents, until the adoption is finalized. To undergo all of that, you have to really want to be a parent, obviously.
Who Does All This, and Why?
The people who go through all that are people of courage, strength and conviction. People like Tom & Christina, who had one miracle pregnancy resulting in the birth of their son, then learned they could never produce a sibling for him. And like Peter & Cassandra, a Spanish-speaking couple who love the land of Columbia, yet who are eager to grow a family here.
They’re folks like Joe & Gianna, both doctors from Phillipines who travel the world but want nothing more than a tiny excuse to become homebodies by becoming a Dad and Mom. They’re childless couples like Jarrod & Rebecca, a military couple drawn into the adoption process by a family friend who asked them to adopt her baby and then changed her mind. Or Mark & Emily, college sweethearts who found life turned upside down by infertility, yet never gave up the dream that they could one day, somehow, become parents by adoption.
And they’re returning clients like Jeremy & Karen, Derek & Cristabel, and Clint & Amanda, who know the joys of open adoption having already adopted here, and who have enough love to share with another adopted child and his or her birthfamily.
How to Support Waiting Adoptive Parents
Waiting adoptive parents at Abrazo know they face an average wait of a year, give or take, in order to match and/or place. They know the process is necessarily filled with uncertainties, and offers few (if any) guarantees. What they need most is to know they can count on you for emotional support throughout their adoption journey.
It’s helpful for waiting adoptive parents if their friends and family members engage in some basic adoption education about things like positive adoption language and how the adoption process works. They’ll want you to show interest in their plans, but they have no way of knowing when a baby will happen for them. (So please resist the urge to ask what’s going on again and again.) There are often long stretches of waiting during the adoption process, when there’s seemingly nothing going on at all.
Send handwritten notes of encouragement while they’re waiting, so the waiting adoptive parents know you care. Ask them if it would be okay to share their adoption profile online, in case someone you know knows someone who needs to place a baby for adoption? Find out if they want to have a baby shower before placement, or if they prefer to plan a sip & see afterwards. Do not pass along every failed adoption story or forward every adoption scam report you run across, please. (They are already all too aware of the risks they face.)
Offer to help with lawn care or pet-sitting or airport transportation when they do get The Call. Consider setting up a Meal Train for the adoptive family for when they do come home with their new child. Remember that “congratulations” are not in order until after placement has officially happened, and that it’s kind to include some mention of the birthparents, too, in any well wishes posted online.
Waiting adoptive parents are people who dare to dream, and who deserve assurance that good things (and great kids) will come to them that wait– not if? but when!