Getting Started With Adoption
Starting a family by adopting may be a second choice, but advocates say it isn't a second-best choice. Still, there is a lot to consider after you've made the decision to adopt a child.
Openness in Adoption
In the past, a mother who "gave up" her child to
adoption did so in a profound way. After she delivered the baby, it would be
whisked away from her, never to be seen again.
Today, the birth mother can choose who will adopt her baby, and
negotiate terms for contact over the course of the child's life. In some
adoptions, just identifying information is exchanged. In more "open"
adoptions, she is entitled to reports about the child from time to time, or she
may even be allowed to visit.
"Thankfully, many, many parents today are getting into open
adoption and becoming a new type of family," Creedy says. "It's a much
more healthy environment for the child."
The idea of having birth mothers involved in their lives can
cause anxiety for adoptive parents. But Pertman says fears of birth mothers'
meddling are largely unfounded. "They've made the decision they're not
going to parent the child. They've made the decision that you are."
Nevertheless, to make sure that things go smoothly, any agency
you work with should provide support services before the adoption and for years
"You want this to be an ethical, warm, loving process and
not a financial transaction," Pertman says. But parents do pay steep fees
to adoption agencies. "For those fees, you should expect good service, and
the service is not just delivery of a child, or that's getting perilously near
the line of buying a baby."
In addition to guiding you through the labyrinth of legalities,
agencies should provide access to counseling for everyone involved -- you, the
child, and the birth mother.
Most importantly, Pertman says, "Be a good consumer -- not
of children, but of services."