(Part 1 of our Holiday Meetings)
Back home again. The holidays are so wonderful, but it is always so refreshing to get back to your own home and life. I was so sad about leaving because I was enjoying the time with my family so much, but I have to admit, it was so great sleeping in my own bed last night. As I mentioned before we had quite a busy trip. We met with both an adoption agent and another RE. They both gave us a lot to think about and we came away from the experience with a new understanding of where we want to go in this process. However I want to give each of the meetings as well as our thoughts on them their own post. So without further ado, the adoption meeting.
The agent we met with is actually a family friend so we just met with her in her home. She actually deals exclusively with the birth mothers. We had so many questions for her and she was great about answering them as best she could. The agency she works for is based out of my home state but I was surprised to find out that they are able to work with out-of-state couples and even that most of the birth moms come from out-of-state. That right there was a huge relief to me. I had been doing some research about local agencies, but I am so cautious with them. I really didn’t feel like I could 100% trust any of them. So it was so amazing to hear that if we chose the adoption route that we would be able to use this agency which I trust whole heartedly.
She explained the basic cost although she couldn’t tell us a whole lot since she never deals with that end of it. In the end it actually came out to be less than what I originally thought it would. There is the basic fee which basically covers the birth mother’s expenses since they all deliver in the area. They fly in usually a month before the birth and the agency puts them up in a hotel, buys them food, gives them a cell, takes them to any doctor appointments, ect. The birth mother is also give a small portion that is supposed to help cover maternity leave. At first this made us uncomfortable since it seemed like selling the baby, but really it isn’t much money in the long run. Those are all the things that are included in the basic fee. Then of course the rest of the money goes to pay the agency and the social workers involved. On top of the basic fee you pay for the delivery. Once the baby is born your insurance kicks in and takes care of most everything. Vaginal birth is obviously less expensive than if she has to have a C-section.
The birth mother chooses the family, but we are also able to say what we are or are not comfortable with. Like we could specify that we do not want to have to deal with any drug usage or mental illness. If we got really picky we could say that we would only take a specific gender. So when a birth mom comes to the agency they look over her file and pull all the couples who have met the specified criteria. Then they call the family, give some basic info about the mom, and ask if they would like their profile show. You can always say no, and just wait for the next call. If you say yes, your info is shown to the mom and she makes her decision.
You don’t actually meet the birth mother until the night before the induction (most are induced). That night you take her out to dinner with both of your case workers. Some do talk on the phone prior to this, but that is up to the birth mom. Once the baby is born she has 24 hours to change her mind. Exactly 24 after the birth the papers are brought to her and once she signs it is done, the baby is yours. Sounds like a really scary 24 hours to me.
This agency only deals with open adoptions. Which is just fine by me. The only real requirement that you have to do is send updated pictures and maybe a letter once a month till the child is 1. After that you send letters and pictures once a year until they reach the age of 18. Any other contact is up to the birth mom and adoptive family. All the letters and pictures are sent to the agency and then they pass them along to the birth mom so that the birth mom never knows the adoptive families address. In fact she never even knows their last name.
The lady we talked to said that based on our age, where we live, and that we don’t have any children, she would be shocked if we waited longer than 4 or 5 months once we got our papers turned in. She said that a lot of birth moms will choose young couples with no kids because they want to give the baby to someone who may not be able to have one any other way. The paper work is mostly applications and then you also submit a kind of scrap-book with pictures of you and your husband, your home, vacations, and life so that they mother can see what kind of people you are. You also have to complete a home study which is extra money, but not terribly expensive.
One thing that struck me the most was the thought that this will work. Pretty much without a doubt, we could have a baby in 6-9 months. No needles, no drugs, no symptom spotting. Just a baby that needs a home. Of course there are always a whole new set of worries. What if she changes her mind? What if we don’t get picked? What if the baby has issues? But she assured us that in working for this agency for the past 5 years she has never had a birth mother change her mind, that she is positive we will get picked and fast, and that you are taking that risk with your own baby.
Bottom line was that this is a real option (a real expensive option but a real option none the less) for us. We could have a baby by the end of the year and start our family. This woman was so great, she totally eased all my fears and talked about what an amazing thing it was to take this children into your home. She told us about some of the situations the birth moms come from and it is so sad. To take some of those children and give them a chance at a brighter future is so cool. She even was trying to convince us to get our paperwork in asap because she has a birth mom coming out in March that she said would be perfect for us.
But before we could commit to anything we had one more visit to make for a second opinion from our RE.