Friday, July 21, 2017

A Very Exciting and Very Scary CLICK

Well... this is EXCITING. And terrifying. And hopeful. And scary. So much so that neither of us wanted to be the one to click the SEND button on our own so we decided to do it together. We just sent the first installment of fees, and signed documents to our birth family's attorney. I figured I'd take this time to answer some of the common questions we've been getting when we share this news in hopes that it helps someone else out there who just might not know how all this stuff works (because I surely didn't before we got into it!)

Remember, we are doing a domestic adoption through private attorney, not through an agency.

When you're matched, it means that a birth family chose you (and you also chose them back). They get to see your profile (the photo book you put together that shows a potential birth family who you are) and you have gotten to see a form with some information about them and their situation. The amount of information you get varies from situation to situation. We've seen ones with tons and tons of details (down to the handedness of each parent) and forms with practically nothing on them leaving the birth family a relative mystery.

When you're matched, it is not a guarantee or a contract. It just means that you've chosen each other.

After you are matched you basically enter into an agreement. It's not a binding contract about whether or not you will get to keep the baby. Rather, it's a binding contract about you paying the birth family's attorneys through the upcoming time you are working together.

For the duration of the time you are matched you are paying the legal fees for the birth family's attorney, their medical care fees, and living expenses plus possibly counseling and other extra legal fees incurred on a situation by situation basis. These are pretty much set by the attorney based on what they expect the financial need to be. They aren't negotiable. And you have to pay this no matter what happens later.

Then you wait. (Waiting is a theme here on this blog if you haven't picked up on that yet, haha!)

After the baby is born, there is a wait (there's that word again!) before the birth mother is legally allowed to sign the papers finalizing things. This window of time varies from state to state but is usually 48-72 hours. During that time, nothing is finalized, no matter who is physically with the child. And at any point during that time, the birth mother can choose to not finalize the adoption and can choose to parent the child. As you can imagine, it is a highly emotional time for everyone involved and this is no small decision for the birth mother. If the birth mother does not go through the with adoption, you return home without a child and start the process over if you wish to try again. But you don't recoup any of the money that had already been paid. This is where adoption is so risky both emotionally and financially. There's no guarantees. There can't be. And there's a lot of money on the line. And a lot of emotions on the line. It's scary to take a risk like that. If it falls apart, you basically start over and so do all the fees.

So... right now... that's where we are. We are matched and we have signed the documents that let our birth family's attorney know we intend to move forward with this adoption and have started the financial process for that. Now we just wait.

When I explain this to people, they are usually shocked and ask me how this could be possible. How there can be no protection for people who are hoping to adopt. How can it really be so risky and what happens if it doesn't work out?

Well, my answer is that this is just how adoption is. And when you stop to think about it, it really couldn't be any other way. It's a risky thing to do. It's beautiful and joyful yes, but adoption grows out of a trauma. It grows out a situation that, in a perfect world, would never exist in the first place.

So... we are all in. All our chips were just slid them out across the table of the Universe. I've never had a very good poker face. Let's see how this hand plays out...


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