People want to know "Any news on the adoption front?" Our usual response is "No, just still waiting for that phone call!"
This often brings a common misconception regarding adoption. Many people imagine that once a mom gives birth, the adoption agency calls the next couple on their list. It brings up the picture of something you might see on Black Friday.
However, this is not the case.
Once we became an officially waiting family, we had to create a profile book. This book has information and pictures of us, our family, and town, and contains a letter to a potential birth mom. These profile books are given to the counselors at the adoption agency.
When a mom comes to the agency seeking information about adoption, there are counselors who work with the mom to make sure that this is the desired route. If a mom decides that adoption is the right choice, then a short message goes out to the waiting families. They look something like this:
- Location (Missouri or Illinois for us)
- Age of birth mom
- Expectant due date
- Ethnicity of baby
- Reported tobacco use
- Reported alcohol use
- Reported drug use
- Reported health history
- Reported pre-natal care
- Anything else that is important to know
If this is a situation that we are interested in (we generally have 2-4 days to consider and make a decision), then we reply that we want our profile book to be presented to the mom. Mom is given a couple days to go through the profile books of all the people who were interested and picks a family to meet with and walk through the adoption process. Allowing mom to chose the family gives some control over a situation that often seems out of control. The "phone call" that we wait for is actually a phone call stating that mom wants to meet with us as a potential adoptive family.
Another situation that comes up are "cold calls." Cold calls are when a mom gives birth at the hospital and immediately wants to make an adoption plan for the child. There has been no previous indication of interest in adoption. The agency that we are connected with makes a point to connect and build relationships with staff at local hospitals so when situations like this happen, the hospital staff knows who they can contact. Cold call messages look similar to expectant mom situations, although sometimes there is less information.
When a cold call message goes out, we have anywhere between 3-6 hours to consider and decide if we are interested in this situation. Mom is shown a shortened version of our profile books and decides who she would like to connect with regarding the child. Again, the phone call we wait for is finding out that we were chosen to be the adoptive family.
Since February, we've been sent several of both types of messages. There has been a variety of situations regarding medical history, drug use, desired openness, ethnic background, pre-natal care, etc. Not one situation has been similar to another.
Where we need prayer is for discernment. We are deciding on how our family will potentially look. What are we capable of? What kind of situations are we willing to jump into? How do you know what you can handle? Do you take a chance and hope for the best?
Sometimes we have guilt in declining to have our profile presented. When you decide to not have your profile presented, you often feel like you are prolonging your wait, that you are the one making the process longer than necessary. Sometimes we feel like we are passing an opportunity that would have been fine, or feel responsible for not giving an infant a chance. Please join us in praying for understanding and grace through this process.
Another thing we ask you to pray about is patience in our waiting. The hardest part of waiting for the child God intends for us is not actually the waiting. It is realizing that life is still moving on. We see others getting married, moving, changing jobs, having children, etc. Everyone's world is moving forward while we continue to be in the "wait" for an unknown amount of time. Please continue to pray for patience and being content in the wait, knowing that God's timing is perfect.
As always, thank you for your love and support.
This process is true for Bethany Christian Services, the agency with whom we are partnered. This process may not be true for other agencies. If interested in adoption, it is important to do research and ask questions on what this process looks like and their reasons for it.