Monday, November 3, 2014

Adoption Resource Fair

Our adoption agency is changing how it functions as far as adoption is concerned. Technically, we could still get matched with them through December 31st of this year and they'll still fully function as an adoption agency as usual. For every adoptive couple who is matched with an expectant mom before the end of the year, they will honor those and complete them the same old way (heavily subsidized by our Church to offset the costs for adoptive couples to adopt).

Technically, there's still that small sliver of a chance that we will get matched with someone before Dec 31, but I doubt it. LDS Family Services doesn't have the same reach as other adoption agencies. And their goals are more about welfare and being a resource center than adoption, anyway. They're trying to re-align themselves to fit better with that by getting out of actually doing adoptions and focusing more on helping expectant parents whether they choose to parent OR place.

After the end of the year, they'll still have our info listed on a matching site, but they will refer us to lawyers and other adoption resources to complete the actual adoption if someone happens to find us through them, which will become less likely than it already is (but still possible).

So, to ease this transition and to help adoptive couples who have been working with LDSFS know how things will be in the future, they held an Adoption Resource Fair (actually, they've been holding several of these) in order to show adoptive couples (at least here in Utah) all the other options that are available to them if they want to adopt.

In theory, it's supposed to help educate adoptive couples and help them find a path to adoption that will get them there faster and possibly less expensively. Honestly, I don't see the "less expensively" part of it at all. But it's definitely great at the educating part and opening couples up to lots of other options and what all agencies, lawyers, consultants, matching sites, and whatnot are out there.

I went to one of these Resource Fairs pretty begrudgingly. I'm sad that adopting through LDSFS won't be an option much longer! But I wanted to get an idea of how much adoptions cost generally through other agencies around here and if it was possible to piece together a private adoption using resources from multiple sources (homestudy through one agency, birth parent counseling through another, legal work through my own attorney, etc). But I was a little flustered and emotional being there, because I was so done with adoption and just wanted to get pregnant. I wanted some control and everything seemed OUT of my control. But I went and I talked to someone at almost every single table.

I walked all around that place, talking to this that and the other person about adoption. Domestic, international, whatever. I really liked one Haitian adoption program. There were a few free matching sites we could add our profiles to online. Asking around, most adoptions tended to be $28,000 - $45,000. No, thank you. Some international adoptions were less expensive than domestic ones! The Foster Care booth was just sitting there out of the corner of my eye like someone I knew (and the point was to come and meet new people), so I kept passing it by. Eventually I walked up to them and re-introduced myself to the two foster care recruiters that I'd met before. I felt dumb and said, "I keep walking past this table because I KNOW we're supposed to do foster care and I'm just not quite there yet." They told me they weren't here to pressure me and I just laughed because I don't feel pressured at all. I just know that's what we should be doing and I'm avoiding it because I know it's the exact right place for us to be and I'm not completely ready. They gave me a card and told me to call and schedule a consultation when we're ready. That's the first step. Just do it and see if it's right. I kept thinking, "But we're gonna move to Georgia next year. There's no point in starting to get foster care licensed now if we'll just have to start all over when we get there."


I went back to circling around the room, talking to folks about adoption. I ended up talking to a really nice lady from one agency for like 45 minutes. They had to kick us out because they were cleaning up and we were still talking. I just straight up asked her, "How can we adopt less expensively, for real? I know interracial families are underrepresented and needed by adoption agencies to fulfill birth mother requests for interracial families. How can we use that to our advantage to make a connection faster and not have us pay more than we feel comfortable paying?" We talked about that. We talked about good adoption stories vs horror stories. She had lots of drama-filled stories from working with an agency. She was nice, but the more I got to know about her agency, the less I wanted to get involved with them. They regularly (meaning, most of the time) fly expectant mothers from their home state to have their baby here. They give them whatever they need - place to stay, food, transportation, entertainment... but if they ever mention that they may not want to place their baby after all, they are sent packing. That doesn't sit well with me at all.

We also talked about cost-discrepancies among different race children. Black children on average are less expensive to adopt, specifically boys. That just blows my mind. I need to find an agency that specializes in placing black and bi-racial children, I thought. Not because we necessarily have a race preference (we've been over that), but because that's where we're going to find our children. If there is such an imbalance with children of color being placed for adoption and a need for black and interracial families to adopt, we need to go where we're needed and find an agency that's not trying to make adoptive couples take out a second mortgage to bring a child home (I'm friends with a lady who actually did that, so it happens).

I haven't looked at a single pamphlet that I brought home from that Adoption Resource Fair. (I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach after talking to most of those people, like I was getting swindled and that children were being bought and sold instead of just lovingly placed where they need to go to be safe and loved by two parents.) Except that dang Foster Care card, lol. I called up the recruiter, set up the consultation, and started the foster care classes... because, why not? Even if we moved to Georgia next year - which we're not, we know now - what could it hurt by taking classes here and now? (more about that later)

I also got online and I researched and researched and researched until I thought I found an adoption agency that might work for us, called PACT. I knew there had to be something out there for us that felt right. I was determined to not give up on it. I don't know how working with them will actually turn out, but I'll definitely write about it along the way.

We're not out of the adoption game just yet, even though I've wanted to quit so many times. I refuse! I'm not that easily defeated!





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