I’ve mentioned before the amazing support system that the IAC post bankruptcy group has been. It’s people like me, that have gone through or are going trough a similar situation. Some have successfully adopted, some are still waiting.
When I decided to write this blog, I reached out to the group and asked them “What do you wish you knew about adoption before you started the process?” and “What advice would you give to someone starting or thinking about the process?” Below are the answers. Even if you’re not planning on adopting, the below is still worth a read because there are some things listed that most people don’t know or think of.
Thank you to all of the IAC members who responded. I bolded some of the comments that resonate the most with me.
“I wish I had known about private adoption before signing with an agency.” – CJC
“We felt like the cost of using a private attorney was really equal to what you end up paying with an agency once you add all the small costs up and additional attorneys fees and we were matched in days after not one contact in three years with IAC. Attorneys just ask for it all up front.” – KG
“I wish someone had told me not to stop enjoying life because you are waiting to adopt. We were so consumed with saving money to adopt, and being available whenever our match finally happened, that we did not do much going out to dinner, pursuing common interests, taking vacations, etc. Now we have a child, and those things are even harder to do. So, use the wait time to enjoy being a couple, connect and have experiences that will last long after you bring your baby home.We held off on taking a vacation for years. We finally decided to go ahead and plan one. Made reservations in Oct for a trip the end of Jan. As we confirmed our reservation my husband jokingly said “Watch and see, now we’ll get a call from a birth mom. Sure enough in mid Dec we matched with our son’s birth mom and dad, who was due in early Feb. We wound up cancelling our vacation because we had so much to do to prepare for his arrival, plus we decided after matching to replace the carpets in our house and purchase a new vehicle. We were too happy about our match at the time to care about the forfeited vacation, but it sure would have been nice to have. ” – CD
“When we were waiting for our first, that was one of the points <see above comment> brought up often in the IAC support groups, and we really took it to heart. We were approached by a young woman who was considering placing, but would never reach out to the IAC, or go through any adoption plans. We had a major trip coming up, and did not want to miss it if this was just not going to happen. So we finally decided to go ahead, and never heard from her during the entire time we were there. She finally contacted us the day before the birth. If we were just sitting around, we would have missed it. As it was, the boyfriend’s sister decided to parent a day after the birth, so it all worked out. Whenever I talked to folks about our experiences with IAC and attorney adoption, that is one take away I try to give.” – BW
“I just want to scream when someone says “oh just live life” while you are waiting. Do you all have any idea how expensive this is?” – AR
“Our story is a little different. We chose adoption over IVF because they seemed to cost the same and we felt one round of IVF wouldn’t guarantee a child, but eventually adoption would. I wish we would have known about embryo adoption. It’s half the cost of IVF. In the end that’s what we did and now we have a beautiful little girl. We have 3 embryos left and will try again soon. The cost for all of this is still less than the money we lost with IAC.” – RBG
“I wish I would’ve known that every situation is different and it wasn’t just young girls with unexpected pregnancies that placed for adoption. I would have been more prepared to expect the unexpected.” – SMJ
“I wish I had known about the prevalence and sophistication of the scammers. The financial ones are easy to spot but the emotional ones can go on for several conversations before the story starts to unravel. It just adds to the roller coaster.” – KB
“I would have loved to know that there were people out there that would take advantage in an emotional way- bastards.“ – SMJ
“It is not the easy route.“ – MB
“Through all the struggles and obstacles you will encounter, it is SO worth it when your new family member is finally with you. Don’t give up.” – TC
“I wish I knew that there were options for how different agencies handled intakes. Being the main communicator with birth families (and many, so many many many scammers) took an emotional toll on me. After 5 years (total- first child then came back) we signed on with a lawyer who didn’t introduce members of the triad until after proof of pregnancy, birth families meeting with third part psychologist/social worker etc. I thought open adoption was how IAC did all of it. I also wasn’t prepared for the sheer pain and emotional jumble with seeing our kids’ birth moms say goodbye to parenting them at the hospital because we quickly came to love them and hurt for them. I think it makes me better because the sacrifice is imprinted on me so deeply that I owe them to do my best. I also think its hard to appreciate the magnitude of the blessing until you are living it. We’re really lucky to have birth families we truly love and our story has happiness, but really the journey goes on and doesn’t end with the adoption finalization.” – CM
“There is not one second that I don’t feel like my adopted child is fully mine. Loving him and being his mama feels like we are of the same blood, but because we aren’t, it actually feels more special.” – CB
“Bottom line is that adoption is expensive (ie a business) and whether it’s domestic, foreign, private or with an agency, there is no guarantee that everyone will get a baby, no matter which way you choose or what your agency or lawyer promises. They are not legally bound to find you a baby. It’s really all up to you and your finances.” – MF
“Don’t disclose details about your child’s birth family or history until you’ve really thought it through. You can’t get that privacy back, and it will impact people’s impressions of them and your child.” – CB
“As an adult adoptee and now a mother nothing I could have ever read or done could have actually prepared me for the massive amount of pain and joy that comes with this process. I prepared like there was going to be a damn test at the end. No test has come, I’m still reading but I’ve given myself some slack and some grace. I can only be the best me for my family and nothing else matters.” – BM
“I wish I knew that when things went wrong we would be the ones financially on the line, not the lawyers or agencies, and so we needed to take their optimistic forecasts with a grain of salt.” – DG
“I was not prepared for how much sorrow and joy are married in adoption and how complex the emotions around open adoption can be. I’m not sure it is anything that you can be fully prepared for until you live it, but although IAC’s pre-adoption education was good, it tended to gloss over the guilt that adoptive parents feel and painted a much simpler scenario for ongoing relationships with birth families. My advice for people looking into adoption is just “Be prepared for it to be wonderful but complicated all steps of the way.” – KB
“I wish I had saved the money to hire a surrogate instead. After the IAC debacle and the stress of dealing with the county foster system (over 16 months and still no home study) I am at the end of my patience with adoption.” – CJ