1. Where do you find the women women who place their babies for adoption?
Our primary advertising is the yellow pages and on the web. We have great deal of expectant mothers that are referred from a previous client.
2. Tell me about the expectant mothers that come to your agency.
We work with a very large variety of women. They range in age from 14 to 44 years old. We work with women of all different races and backgrounds. Each woman has a unique personality. One thing they have in common is the love and courage to try to give their baby the best future possible.
The average age of our expectant mothers is about 26-28 years old. Many of them have other children that they parent. Some have had their children removed from their home. A good portion of the expectant mothers are coming to us in a crisis. Many are homeless, abused, have unsupportive families, are using drugs, or have some mental health problems.
Many perspective adoptive families want to know what the mother is going to do and when. We don’t know because our expectant mothers don’t know. They have never done this before. They don’t know how they will feel and how they will react to those feelings. It is key for everyone to remember that we need to be flexible and accepting things as they happen.
3. How much does it cost to adopt?
Our agency is unique because there is a minimal application fee of only $100 and we support applying to multiple agencies. There is also no adoption at risk fees and there are no add–ons or surprise fees at the end. There are three types of expenses that are discussed with our adoptions. The first is the ADOPTION FEE. This is the fees that you pay to the agency. These fees cover the birth mother expenses and the agency expenses. All of these fees are no risk. These fees may range from $22,000 to $36,000. The second expense is MEDICAL EXPENSES. A good portion of our birth mothers do not have medical insurance. The adoptive family assumes all of the medical expenses from the doctor visits, emergency room visits, hospital costs, and pediatrician costs. The medical expenses can vary by state and hospital. Most families will pay between $6,000 to $10,000. The third fee is the LEGAL FEES. Babies born in the state of Utah will not have normal legal fees. For babies born in other states Heart to Heart is required to pay additional fees. The legal fees average $5,000 but could go higher. Almost all babies that have Native American heritage require additional legal work. The birth mother is required to go before a judge and state she understands the laws regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act and that they are choosing to place their child outside of the tribe. This is usually an additional $4,000.
We will discuss all fees associated with each particular situation prior to showing your profile to a potential match situation.
4. How do you match an adoptive family with an expectant mother?
Although we will do all we can to place a child with your family, we cannot guarantee placement. Many factors influence the selection process including the number of approved applicants, the number of children available for adoption, the birth parents and your preferences. However, we will present your profile as often as we can to birth parents that match your criteria. Obviously the broader your criteria the more often you will be presented. We will ask permission and let you know each time we present your profile. Once your profile is selected by a birth mother, we generally arrange for a conference call between you and the birth parents. If you both are pleased with each other, we consider you matched. When you are matched you begin to share the financial responsibility for the birth mother with the agency. At that time you will work with our financial department to fully understand all financial obligations associated with that situation. We generally charge half the overall fee at match.
5. What is the difference between private, open, and semi-open adoptions?
Open adoption usually involves contact via phone or in person before the adoption and after the adoption. It may include a third party to keep personal information private or you may choose to share information and make your own arrangements.
The birth family and adoptive family do not have any direct contact in a closed adoption. There is a myth that closed adoption are safer. In actuality closed adoptions are based on fear and control.
Most adoptions fall somewhere in between. This is called a semi-open adoption. Contact information. Common ways to stay in touch include pictures, letters, e-mails, blogs, or conference calls with a third party.
As with all relationships, they evolve and change. Some adoptions that start off one way may turn out totally differently. The child that you love will have questions, characteristics, and history that they will want to know about. The more open the relationship the better for all parties.
6. What is a home study?
The Adoptive Pre-placement Evaluation, generally called a “Home Study”, is to help prepare you for adoption and ensure that you meet agency and state requirements. If you already have a current home study, we will assure that it is in compliance with Heart to Heart standards. The study consists of one or more interviews as well as written information provided by you and others. Ask your worker questions anytime during the study process. The written material includes medical background, marriage information about your family, parenting styles, and finances. Reference letters will also be requested from 3 references, including 1 related and 2 non-related references. We accept completed adoptive home studies from other sources that adhere to similar professional adoption standards as Heart To Heart Adoptions. In addition, if we complete an adoptive home study for you, we are happy to forward it on to other adoption agencies with which you may be working.
7. How long will we have to wait before we get our baby?
Wait times vary with each situation. We don’t know in advance who will be calling to place their baby for adoption. The more restrictions a family has will also increase the wait time. We find that couples waiting for African American babies don’t wait more than four to six months. Couples waiting for a Caucasian baby don’t wait more than 9-12 months. Perspective adoptive families will wait a little longer if they fall into one or more of the following categories.
- Want a girl
- Cannot pay for medical costs
- Are single
- Are older
- Have biological children
- Live in a state that is difficult to work with
We have even had families get matched and have a placement within days of becoming active. The thing to remember is that the baby that is right for your family will come in his or her own time.
8. Do you place with single parents?
Yes we do place with single parents. Over the past year we have had a large influx of single parents wanting to adopt. Unfortunately most of our birth families are looking for a two parent family. This creates a much longer wait time for the single parents hoping to adopt.
9. What do we say to the expectant mother when we first talk or meet?
It is good to hear from the staff that has been working with her to find out what topics might be good or bad to discuss. It is good to start with how their pregnancy is going and how they are feeling. Asking about their interests, their future plans, and friends and family are generally safe topics. Topics such as other children or the birth father may be tougher topics. It is good to share your interests with her as well. Try to find common ground.
10. What is an appropriate gift or way to say thank you to the birth parents?
Prior to placement only very small tokens of appreciation or greeting should be given. After placement a more sentimental gift and card can be given. It is never appropriate to give a large or expensive gift that may appear as coercion.
11. What happens at the hospital?
The hospital time is a time of great stress and great flexibility. We talk with each birth mother about her desires for the hospital. These topics are listed below.
- Who does she want in the room during labor?
- Who does she want in the room during delivery?
- Does she want to hold the baby right after birth?
- Who will get the second band?
- How much time does she want to spend with the baby in the hospital?
- How much does she want to visit with the adoptive family in the hospital?
12. What is finalization and who handles that?
This is an exciting time and can take place after a successful supervisory period generally of 6 months in Utah, other states will vary. The adoption agency will no longer be the legal guardian of your child. You are responsible for any legal fees associated with finalization. You are free to select independent counsel for all necessary adoption proceedings. We encourage you to find the attorney or agency that will handle your finalization within 30 days of your placement. In some areas we can make recommendations.
13. Are we done with the adoption once we finalize?
Adoption is a lifelong process. You are done with the legal aspects. You will still need to maintain your relationship with the birth family and address the many issues that come up as your child grows and develops.
14. How do we answer the questions our child asks as they grow?
It is our philosophy that the adoption should never be kept from the child. We encourage families to talk about the adoption and their birth family from infancy on. As the child gets older it will be a topic that is natural to discuss. Each child and each family are different. We encourage you to be open and honest but speak at a level the child understands. There are adoptive family social groups where families share their experiences. There are several books available on that topic. If you have any specific concerns or questions please feel free to contact us.
15. How do we go from infertility to adoption?
A good portion of the families that come to us to adopt have some type of infertility issues. Couples who have tried to have a biological child unsuccessfully or know they will be unable to have children go through a major loss in their lives. As with all loss it should be addressed. Infertility is a loss that is often not discussed or recognized which can make it that much harder.
Adoption is a great option for those who can not have children biologically. However, it should not be pursued until the loss of biological children has been addressed. Adoption is available to build a family not to replace a desired child. Adoption is also an emotional and stressful process. We encourage families not to continue infertility treatment or pregnancy while pursuing adoption.
As you move from infertility to adoption you will probably experience some or all of the stages of grief and loss. They are listed here. As a couple you should address each of these and see where you feel you are in the process.
- Stage 1 – Denial
- Stage 2 – Anger
- Stage 3 – Bargaining
- Stage 4 – Sadness
- Stage 5 – Acceptance
It is important to have both partners discuss this openly with each other. It is also important to realize that each person moves through grief and loss at different stages. Both parents must be ready to move forward. No one should ever adopt because it will make their spouse happy. If you are unsure about your feelings you can join an infertility group, talk to other couples, talk to a counselor, and read books.