Thursday, May 5, 2011

Money Changes Everything

Unlike Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock, we, like most adoptive parents, do not have unlimited financial resources to throw at our adoption effort. If we did, I am quite sure we would have adopted by now. Sure, we could probably come up with more money, but then what kind of life would we be providing our children if we are broke?

If you are at all familiar with the adoption process of domestic newborns, you would know that even us middle class folks end up spending a small fortune on our adoption process. Agency fees, legal fees, travel costs, profile advertising, home studies, and birth mother expenses are only some of the expenses that can be quite costly.

Generally, the more resources you spend (if you spend wisely), the less wait time you should have. Why? Let's assume you are not a celebrity, so you don't have that added benefit on your side. The reality is that there are way more people wanting to adopt than there are birth mothers placing for adoption. This has only become worse as fewer people are adopting internationally, and domestic adoption has become a more common way to build your family.

I believe most of the families wanting to adopt are probably great people who will make outstanding parents. They wouldn't be jumping through the hoops of adoption if they didn't really want to be parents. So, there are endless numbers of prospective adoptive people available to adopt any given birth mother's baby. Ideally, if you have the resources, you want every birth mother to at least glance at your profile, even if she doesn't end up picking you. At least you were in front of her, and you never know what will appeal to a birth mother.

If you get in front of more birth mothers, it increases your chances of getting picked, especially if you have a great profile book. Unfortunately, getting in front of more birth mothers requires more money spent by the prospective adoptive person. There are a couple of ways to get in front of more birth mothers. One would be to sign up with more than one agency or facilitator. This is quite costly because typically the upfront fee might be $10,000 or more whether they deliver a "match" to you or not. Those with more resources choose this route.

A less expensive way to get in front of more birth mothers would be to do your own advertising. You can advertise on the internet on what is called parent profile sites (and unfortunately, some of the best sites discriminate against same-sex couples and won't let them advertise on their site) or through Google Adwords (no discrimination here). Both of these methods can end up becoming quite costly, but it will increase your chances for finding a birth mother. Note, my adoption agency doesn't agree with me on this point, but my personal experience and research says personal advertising does work. People also advertise in newspapers--Craigslist, college newspapers, and the like. I have never done it, but apparently it can become quite expensive. In some states it is illegal, and Georgia is one that does not allow it.

Some of the free methods of getting more exposure to birth mothers or adoption situations is through blogging or the use of Facebook. I know these sites have worked for folks, but I am not really sure how helpful they are in the adoption process. I am doing both of these options since they are free, and it gives me something to do while I am waiting for the phone to ring. The one benefit is that it makes people aware that you want to adopt. This is helpful because you never know who might stumble upon a situation where someone is considering placing a baby for adoption. I know some friends who found their birth mother through this informal type of networking.

So, there can be a little unfairness inherent in the open adoption system. Birth mothers may be more likely to see more profiles of people who are more affluent and not a same-sex couple. To be clear, I am not whining here. Just merely pointing out another adoption truth.

If I had tons more money, I would be doing so much more to find our birth mother. I would sign up with 3-4 agencies if I needed to. I would be able to respond to the occasional adoption situation that seems perfect (these are when facilitators list an adoption situation available, typically at a very high cost).

Since we don't have the unlimited funds, it is frustrating. I feel powerless just sitting here waiting for the phone to ring. I will continue on with my free efforts at finding a birth mother situation, and hope that my high cost agency comes through for us. I am sure they will if I can just find the patience to wait. Lisa has the nice distraction of starting her new job. I am getting a little bit of baby fever as I have witnessed several births lately.

Come find us, little angel! Your room is ready, and our hearts are ready to welcome you!


  1. We signed with 4 referral services, which cost from $0 to $200. Upon match or placement, they receive a larger fee, but they're quite reasonable, I think. We matched through one of them, and neither they nor the agency will take fees until the baby is placed.

    I know if we had unlimited funds, we would have matched by now. We had to pass up dozens of situations because they were simply too expensive. I really don't know where all the money goes in some of these cases.

  2. @Chittiesterchildren, Would love to hear about your referral services that were reasonable. I haven't seen any--or they look like they lead to huge charges.

  3. Have you looked into Adoption Link in Illinois. We adopted both of our sons through there. They are supportive of same sex couples and are reasonably priced as far as agencies go. They specialize in African American and biracial babies.

    Best of luck to you.


  4. @Kate, at this point we have spent so much money on our current agency and a failed adoption, we can't sign on with anything as much as that. I bookmarked their site because it does look fairly affordable compared to a lot of places.

    Thanks for the info because I was no aware of their program in all my web searching.