In the past few decades, one of the biggest breakthroughs of adoption is giving the pregnant mother the control to choose the adoptive family that will raise her child.
So, if you are ready to take the next step in this process, you may be asking: how does finding an adoptive family work?
Before you can find the perfect family, you must first know what type of family you are looking for. Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you begin thinking of the perfect family and situation for your child:
- Where will my baby grow up? Do you see your child living in a particular state, in the suburbs, or in a large house? Whatever you imagine can become reality. It’s also important to know what you don’t want – for example, perhaps your child growing up either on a farm or in the city isn’t appealing to you.
- Do I want my baby to have siblings? Maybe you want your baby to be an only child, or you’d like him or her to grow up in a large family. You may even want to find a family that has already adopted before.
- Should my baby look like his or her parents? For some women, it’s important to find a family that resembles their child or shares the same cultural background and traditions.
- What kind of lifestyle should my baby have? Maybe you imagine your child growing up surrounded by music or taking lots of family road trips. What hobbies and traditions do you want your child to be exposed to?
- What values are important to me? You want the adoptive family to share not only your love for your child, but also your personal values. Similarly, you may want your baby to have a particular religious upbringing.
Whether you have or haven’t completely decided on the type of family you are looking for, don’t worry – it’s never too early to contact an adoption professional who can help you piece together your ideal adoptive family.
Let’s now look at the differences between finding an adoptive family with or without the help of an adoption agency:
An adoption agency provides women in your situation with a wealth of valuable services, including matching with a family. Your adoption specialist will help you determine the type of family and adoption situation that makes the most sense for you and your child.
In an adoptive family profile, you can expect:
- An introduction to the family
- A description of their home, neighborhood, and community
- Information on the extended family
- Photographs of the family and their environment
All of the families who are presented to you will have been pre-screened by the adoption agency as well as through an adoption home study, promising you that they are safe and ready for adoption.
In an independent adoption, you will not use the services of an adoption agency to help you find an adoptive family. Women in independent adoptions can find families in a number of ways: through adoption attorneys, personal relationships, or online and print ads. If you are looking for a family without the help of an agency, here are some tips to help you on your search:
- Look online – Many people looking to adopt will post online to search for women like you. They may even have an informal family profile or blog describing their family and their excitement to adopt.
- Check the newspapers – Some families will post advertisements in print, so the newspapers can be a good place to look.
- Get a reference – You may know someone who has friends or family members looking to adopt, or an adoption attorney you work with may be able to help you find a family as well.
If you already know a family that wants to adopt your child, or if you find a family through your own resources, an independent adoption may be ideal for you. However, by not working with an adoption agency, you will likely not receive counseling and support, and your adoptive family will not have been pre-screened by an adoption agency.
Remember, even if you do find an adoptive family without the help of an adoption agency, you may still work with an adoption agency on what is known as an “identified adoption” to provide both you and the adoptive family with an adoption agency’s services, including counseling, support, education, screening and much more.
Getting to Know an Adoptive Family
The final step of this process is to ensure the family you have selected is indeed right for your child. The best way to be sure is by interacting with them via phone, email or in person.
While getting to know the adoptive family, consider the following:
- Are they who I thought they were?
- Do they match everything I wanted?
- Are they respectful of me and my wishes?
- Did they act excited to get to know me?
- Did they act excited to grow their family through adoption?
- Do they feel like the right family?
Women in your position choose adoption to provide the best possible life for their children. It can be difficult to know what family will give your child that life. However, when you meet the right parents, you will feel their warmth and excitement to grow their family, and – most importantly – their love for your baby.
When you are ready to begin your search for an adoptive family, speak with your adoption specialist or browse the agency websites and family profile services below: