How long will this whole process take?
Our agency has given us a 4-18 month average. Remember, this is an average. Could be sooner, could be longer. What if it does take longer? We will continue to pray and trust that God has our little family in the palm of his hands and is taking care of everything! After our last home study (May 2nd) we will have our home study approved and we will officially be a waiting family. We then get matched, meet with the birth mother and father, and wait for delivery.
What about the real mom? Is she going to be in the picture?
First things first, let's talk appropriate adoption language. Both the woman who gives birth to our child and myself are living, breathing, real women. She is no more real than I am simply because she gave birth to the child. Biological or Birth Mom are more appropriate titles.
Our agency strongly encourages open adoptions (contact with the birth mother after birth). As the child grows it is extremely important for him to know that he was not "given up" or "gotten rid of". Having some sort of contact (e-mail, letters, pictures, phone calls, face to face) with the birth mother allows the child to learn and understand that his birth mother (and father) did the most loving and caring thing they possibly could have when they created an adoption plan. Open adoptions also eliminate the shock and rejection factor of the child finding out they are adopted. Drew and I will decide with the birth mother our comfort level with the openness of the adoption. We will be matched with a birth mother who has expressed similar levels of comfort regarding amount of communication.
So the mom is going to be 16 and pregnant, right?
Surprisingly, most adoptions do not stem from a teenage pregnancy. Many teenagers who get pregnant do not have a realistic view of what it takes to be a parent and often decide to parent themselves. On the flip side they have family members who have vowed to care for the child no matter what. Most adoptions come from birth mothers who have already experienced parenthood and know the stresses (physically, mentally, and financially) that are involved and understand that they cannot parent another child safely, healthily, or effectively.
Aren't you afraid the birth mom is going to come back and take the baby away?
As our adoption specialist stated, "That is called kidnapping and you would call the cops." Unfortunately, Lifetime movies make adoption seem like the birth mother is constantly stalking the child. With our agency the expectant mother gets counseled for months before the actual paperwork has to be signed. During the counseling she creates a detailed adoption plan to help her feel at peace with her decision. The state of Florida gives the birth mother from the time of the birth to hospital discharge or 48 hours, whichever comes first, to sign over parental rights. After that paper is signed, if she were to come back for the child it would be a legal matter. So no, this is not a fear of ours.
Could she choose not to sign the paperwork?
Yes, she does not have to sign the paperwork in the hospital. Drew and I have been praying about this since the moment we started looking into adoption. Our prayer is that God will place us with a birth mother who is 100% confident that we will be the best parents for her child. We also pray for the counselors at Bethany Services; that they guide and counsel the birth mother appropriately and to the best of their ability prepare her for the day she has to sign the paperwork.
How much does all of this cost?
To paraphrase the author of The Open Hearted Way to an Open Adoption, just as a pregnant woman is paying an insurance company for her services, we are paying an agency for ours. Would you ask a pregnant woman what her co-pays, deductibles, premiums, and out of pocket costs are? Didn't think so.
Where are you getting the child from?
Our agency works with expectant mothers throughout the state of Florida. Our child will be born in the state of Florida and we will travel to the hospital once we are notified of labor.
What are you going to do if you get pregnant while you're in this process?
We will fully rely on God to guide us through it. Period.
When is the baby shower?
Because we don't have a "Due Date" we are not going to have a baby shower before the baby comes home. We will get the basics when we are matched and then have a "Sprinkle" or "Sip and See" once we are settled at home with the baby. The reason behind this is although we are going to be waiting for a child, we do not feel a rush to get a nursery set up when there is not an end date yet.
How can we help out or support you all?
Prayer! We need all the prayer we can get! We know this is ordained by God, but we don't know the details and that can be scary to this control freak!
Pray for the birth mom. If she is already pregnant, that she is seeking the proper prenatal care and counsel that she needs. If she is considering abortion, that God will open her eyes and allow her to see the other options that she has. If the birth father is not in the picture, to know that she is not in this alone and that Drew and I are going to walk beside her as much as she will allow us to. If she doesn't know it already, to learn that there is a God that loves her more than she could ever imagine.
Pray for the child. That the child is healthy throughout the pregnancy and delivery.
Pray for our agency. Pray that they will get in touch with as many birth moms as possible and help the birth mothers to see hope in a world that doesn't want them to see that. That they will equip the counselors with truth based counseling strategies to use the birth mothers and give them peace.
Pray for Drew and I. That we continue to fully trust and rely on the Lord and remember that this will all happen if it is His will. That we continue to let go of control and learn how to be comfortable with that.
Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7