Adoption wake-up call

My daughter has picked out the baby she would like us to adopt. She wants this one:

Unfortunately for her, this is the baby on the commercial that she saw last week. But she is adamant that this is the one she wants. “Can we get that one, mommy? The one with the pink bow.”

Her older 6-year-old sister rolled her eyes and said, “We can just put a pink bow on it, silly.”

So wise. And yet, I still feel like my children aren’t quite grasping this whole adoption business. I tried to explain it to them. I explained that it would be a long process and that submitting our paperwork this week was just the first step, and it may be a long time before we actually get a new brother or sister.

When we dropped off that paperwork, my 3-year-old wondered whether the baby would be riding home on her lap that day. Then when we got to the agency office, she looked at the wall of adopted children and said, “Wow, which one are we going to get?”

Oh, if only it were that easy. My children aren’t the only ones experiencing a bit of a wake-up call on how intense this whole adoption thing is going to be. I am feeling pretty overwhelmed just by the initial application. It all just seems so much bigger than me.

There are so many details, forms, home studies, fees, and on and on. Somewhere amidst all those details and headaches is the hope that another mother chooses me — to raise her child. To love her child. I can’t think of a more daunting choice for that mother, or a more humbling position for me. Who am I to say I’m good enough to raise that child?

Instead of getting bogged down in the details or too overcome by the procedures or intimidating wait-time estimates, I am focusing on the things I can control. I can keep doing what I do: being a mother and loving my children. So if another mother does choose me someday, I will be able to welcome her child into a loving home that is ready and waiting to love even more.

In that respect, I don’t think there is any better wisdom than that of my 6-year-old daughter, who recently told me that it won’t matter if a new baby doesn’t look much like any of us: “It’s what’s on the inside that matters, Mom. We will love it just as much.”

Any tips to get through the application/home study hurdles of adoption?


  1. John

    You are going through the most difficult time of the adoption process in my opinion. The application itself can be difficult just because of how emotionally charged some of the questions seem. But now that your paperwork is in, you are playing the waiting game. I don’t know what agency you are using, but it is stressful to submit your profile for a potential baby. The emotional roller coaster can be brutal. Balancing the need to guard yourself if you aren’t chosen, and being enthusiastic about the potential of a new baby, and not confusing these emotions.
    It sounds like this is your first adoption. I would recommend a couple of things.
    First, it is easy to make decisions based on what YOU want from the adoption. By this I mean how open you want it to be, how you communicate with the birth mother, etc. Obviously make sure it is something that you are comfortable with, but it is important to keep your CHILD in mind in this process. What do you want your relationship to be like with the birth mother in 10-15 years? What do you think your child will want out of this relationship? What do you want your child to know about her? It is easy to feel like you want a completely closed adoption, but do you want that for you? Or for your baby?
    Second, read a book about the experiences of adopted children. Especially if you are considering transracial adoption. This helped me think about parenting and social situations that may come up that I didn’t consider before.
    Third, prepare for people to say things that may hurt your feelings and what you might say in response. There is an unfortunate stigma about adoption and especially birth mothers. The special relationship that you have with that birth mother is something very few people can understand. She is part of the family now. One of the most special people in your life. I protect her in the same way that I do my wife, mother, or kids.

    My biggest recommendation to get through this time is to trust that whatever happens, happens for a reason. It may be difficult, but if you are not chosen by one birth mother, it is not meant to be. As stressful as the whole situation is, you will look back in a couple of years and marvel at how God knew that your child was meant to be with you, and be thankful at how it all worked out.

    Good luck. Adoption is a wonderful thing. Congrats on taking the first steps.

      • John

        Well, ours was a transracial adoption so the books that I read dealt mostly with that specific subject within adoptions. I found the book “In Their Own Voices” by Rhonda Roorda to be insightful. She interviews adoptees about what they think their parents did well, and what they wish they would have done differently. On a similar note to more traditional adoptive families, I have heard that “Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew” was good, but I have not read it myself. The complaint about these books is that it informs the parents of what emotions/difficulties their child might be going through, but does not actually deal with ways to address these issues. I still find this very helpful though. Children can have difficulties expressing themselves, or sharing information. So this gives you a head start in knowing without them telling you.
        Understanding their struggles can also help you nip it in the bud if you notice certain interactions with other kids that may be hurtful. And tells you what to talk with your family and friends about so that they can be prepared to use more positive language, or not ask about certain issues. The more education, the better.
        I would be happy to recommend some more books, but as I said, they are more helpful in the subject of transracial adoption than anything else.
        Again, good luck in the process.

  2. Erin R.

    Wow, how exciting! My younger sister was adopted and arrived here from Korea just before her first birthday. She was and always has been solidly in place as a member of our family. I did hear a few strange comments over the years from people who just didn’t understand and thought she must be some kind of charity case or the “special sister” or something else weird. No, she’s just my sister, and I’m me, and our mom is our mom, etc.

    You will make it through the long wait. You will make it through the insensitive questions and comments. I know this is way easier said than done, but try not to worry about being chosen by another woman to raise her child. YOU have a child out there somewhere who is making his or her way toward you. Of course you are good enough. He or she may be grafted onto your family tree, but that is your child. Yours. I wish you the best of luck and peace in this next step building your family.

  3. NHCougar

    I’m not sure what agency you are planning on going through – if you are planning on going through LDS Family Services, I suggest you contact your local office regarding the approval process and policy for adoption. We went through LDSFS for five (5) years with no success. Our experience wasn’t very positive and we recognize that everyone’s “mileage will vary” with LDSFS. If I remember correctly, LDSFS changed their policy in 2010 indicating that if you already have two children then you will not be eligible for adoption.

    Fortunately, there are other options out there such as foster-adoption and other private adoption agencies (via adoption lawyer). The costs for foster-adoption are covered by the state where private adoption costs can top over $30,000. Private home studies can range from $800-$1,500 depending on the agency you choose. You can be licensed through the state for foster adoption for free.

    Best of luck with the adoption process. My wife and I have been married for over 10 years with no children. It’s been quite the journey (many failed adoptions) but we remain positive that someday we will to adopt.

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