In honor of Leap Day, we’re answering some Frequently Asked Questions from families who are considering adoption. If you’re thinking of taking the leap into adoption and want to learn more about America’s Adoption Agency, read on!
Why are other agencies less expensive than American Adoptions?
Keep in mind that agencies may estimate their agency fees and not all the costs that go along with your adoption. Costs that are often left out are legal fees, medical costs or financial assistance for the birth mother. Ask the hard questions to truly determine that you are receiving accurate cost projections. Even if you don’t work with American Adoptions, it’s important to find a professional who fits with your family’s needs. One great thing about American Adoptions is that it is a full-service agency child placing agency, and all fees are included in our estimates.
I am debating between international and domestic adoption. Can you give me your take on it?
There are several advantages to adopting domestically. First, you’ll be able to have access to your child’s birth mother’s, and sometimes the birth father’s, social and medical records. Usually, you’ll be able to obtain a copy of these for your own records. Second, you’ll likely only have to travel for 7-10 days during the adoption, rather than the weeks or months required by international adoption. Third, you’ll have the peace of mind of completing paperwork in your native language. Families who find that international adoption is a better fit are often wish to adopt toddlers and older children, prefer to be gender-specific in their selections, are ok with unknown medical history or are over 50 or single and know that adopting in the U.S. will be more difficult.
Why does it cost money to adopt?
Adoption through the State is simply paid for by our tax dollars. There is a lot of overhead and services that must be offered to be able to provide adoption services. In private adoptions like those through American Adoptions, costs are incurred from a birth mother’s medical and living expenses, legal fees, counseling and case management, as well as networking and advertising fees to locate potential birth mothers.
Do you work with older children?
The vast majority of our adoptions are with healthy newborns or infants. It’s very rare for us to work with older children. Normally older children that need adoptive homes have been removed from unhealthy environments by the State and are available through the foster care system. We are a private agency that works with birth mothers who voluntarily place their babies for adoption.
I do not want a baby that was exposed to substances. Are there babies that are healthy?
Absolutely, 99% of our placements are healthy newborns. Adoption is a responsible and loving choice, and for the most part, birth mothers do a great job taking care of themselves. Sometimes we work with birth mothers who admit to drug usage, but that does not mean that the baby will have special needs. Consult a physician, OB/GYN or pediatrician about the effects of drug exposure to decide what you and your spouse are comfortable with. Your profile will only be shown to birth mothers who meet those specifications.
What about the birth father? I am worried he can come back and get the baby.
We always terminate the parental rights of birth fathers. If he is known and in agreement, he will sign paperwork alongside the birth mother. In situations where the birth father is unknown or whose whereabouts is unknown, we follow the state laws in regards to termination of parental rights. This time frame ranges typically from three weeks to 60 days. If he does not agree with the adoption plan, he must prove to courts that he has provided emotional and financial support for the birth mother, hire his own attorney and have a DNA test run to prove that he is the father. Often this involved process deters him from pursuing parental rights. As with birth mothers, once his rights are terminated, there is no possibility of him coming forth in the future.
Do you do open or closed adoptions?
We do all three types of adoption: open, closed and the in-between, called semi-open adoptions. When we start assessing birth mothers, we take into consideration the future contact they desire and show them potential adoptive families accordingly. We ask that our adoptive couples be open to at least a semi-open adoption, which means they provide updates via pictures and letters but are not required to exchange any identifying information. Semi-open adoptions make up 85% of our adoptions. Open adoptions make up another 10%, and close adoptions (requested by birth mothers) make up the final 5%.
We have completed our own family profile. Can we just use that?
No, we complete and put together your family profile to present to birth mothers. Our profiles follow a uniform template. It helps to level the playing field, but still allows for a couple’s unique personality traits to show through. And we can assure that the final product will provide a personal and professional presentation for a birth mother to look at. In addition, we also complete a video profile for your family to present to birth mothers.
Do we select the birth mother, or does she select us?
In about 95% of our adoption, the birth mother chooses the adoptive family to adopt her baby. In the other 5%, the birth mothers put their trust in the agency to select the right type of family for their baby. First, we find a family whose Adoption Planning Questionnaire matches her needs, and then we send her matching profiles to make a selection.
A lot of agencies have told us that if we have children already, it will be impossible for us to adopt. Is this true?
Not at all. While some birth mothers are looking for a family who has no children or wishes for their child to be the oldest in a family, others want their child to have siblings. We have completed many adoptions with families who already have children, biological and adopted.
Will we need to contact our own attorney?
No, American Adoptions is a full-service adoption agency, meaning that we will set up all of your legal work for termination and the finalization of your adoption. We work with a network of attorneys who specialize in adoption and understand the intricacies of the legal side.
Do you provide counseling to birth mothers?
Yes, all of our birth mother receive counseling, offered 24/7 by licensed social workers and counselors. We provide both general phone counseling and face-to-face counseling, based on the needs of the woman.
Why should we work with you?
Families join our agency for several reasons:
- They want to join an agency that has a solid track record with adoption.
- They have done their research and concluded that we were the best fit for them.
- They like the fact that we closely monitor the number of babies we are placing with the number of families joining our list, which ensures our wait times are accurate.
- They like our support services for birth mothers, which mean safer adoptions for them.
- They like our focus on adoption safety.
- They like our attention to improvement and growth.
- They like the fact that we work in all 50 states, which means more opportunity to reach more birth mothers.
- They like the fact that we support and educate adoptive families through the whole adoption process.
- They like the myriad of ways we like to network and advertise to reach out to birth parents.
- They like that we offer a Limited Risk Program.
Can we talk to someone who has adopted through you?
Absolutely, we have several families that enjoy sharing their story with other prospective adoptive families. You can ask one of our Adoption Specialists for such contacts. You can also check out our Adoptive Family Testimonial page, which features stories from our American Adoptions families.
To learn more about our fees, wait times and programs, request information or reach one of our Adoption Specialists at 1-800-ADOPTION.