The 4 Barriers to Adoption
By: Kaylee Sutherin
The journey to adoption can be a long, arduous road. Other times, it can be quick, and intense. However fast it happens, it can also be overwhelming, and while there is definitely joy in the journey, there are also barriers, stumbling blocks, and detours that seemingly pepper your path. Let’s discuss some of the most common barriers to adoption we see today.
1. Cost of Adoption
For many people, the cost of adoption can seem daunting, especially if they are going through an agency or adopting internationally– or both. The average cost of adoption in the United States ranges anywhere from $30,000 – $45,000. Even on the lower end of that scale it can be difficult to see possibilities for financing your adoption. Luckily, adoption grants are accessible to many who need help paying the cost. Additional resources like adoption fundraisers, tax credit, and periodic installments help offset the overwhelming “total” that delays many people from pursuing adoption at all.
What goes into this large sum? Depending on which adoption route you pursue (more information on this below), the cost can be higher, lower, or right on with these averages. While the cost of adoption can be estimated, it is difficult to know exactly how much money will be put out by an adoptive family when all is said and done. Typically, someone pursuing adoption can expect to pay an application fee, homestudy fees and updates, outreach and program fees, and post placement services. Additional costs depend on whether or not the birth family needs support in the form of medical or living expenses (all agency and court-approved).
It should also be noted that adopting a waiting child can be significantly lower in cost than assisted adoptions whether going through an attorney or an agency. Adopting a child through the foster care system will eliminate costs such as a home study or home study update (the state will pay for these), post placement supervision (if the adoptive family resides in the state in which the adoption was completed), and adoption training courses may also be provided at the expense of the state.
Although it can be troubling at times, there are always ways to manage the cost of adoption, thankfully, and we encourage anyone who is curious about adoption to explore their options. There are pro’s and con’s to each adoption avenue, and finding what works best for you and your family is what is most important. Finally, when it comes to financing your adoption, get creative! There are hundreds of resources at your disposal to brainstorm ideas and find what options are available to you.
2. Waiting for Adoption
Each adoption can vary in terms of how long a family waits to get matched or placed. We have known some couples to place within weeks of signing up with our agency. Other times, families have to wait longer periods of time to meet their child. Regardless of these discrepancies, days spent in the adoption journey can often seem endless.
So, how do you cope with these waiting periods? Things like preparing the nursery, choosing a pediatrician, drafting a will (if you don’t have one set already), and researching topics such as vaccinations or child care techniques are all important actions to take before you bring your baby home. The list of preparing for your baby often seems endless, so this can keep you busy for a good amount of time!
Many families reflecting on their adoption experience recommend to “live for the day” and not for the future moment that you’ll receive that matching call. Of course, this is easier said than done! How often do we all look forward to that next step, get caught in the daydream, and forget to appreciate what we have now? These parents are suggesting that you take time to care for yourself and enjoy moments with the family and friends you have now. In the long run, you will be grateful to have spent each day intentionally and not stuck in any anxieties or daydreams for too long.
3. Previous Failed Adoptions
Going hand-in-hand with a taxing waiting period is dealing with failed placements. Part of the “package deal” of adoption is the chance that an adoption plan will not be carried through, and whether we like it or not, it is a risk everyone must take when taking their adoption journey. Not only can this make the waiting process longer, but a failed placement can wear on the emotions of the hopeful adoptive family. It is not difficult to imagine why– to begin dreaming up a life with the child you have been matched with, only to get the call that this baby is not coming to you, after all. It can be heart-breaking.
You can find comfort in knowing that other adoptive families have shared similar experiences of failed placements, and they survived! In fact, many adoptive families continue to pursue adoption, despite facing such a tragedy. Take time to grieve the loss, talk with your adoption caseworkers and perhaps join a support group– but then, if you and your family feel adoption is still a good option for you– get back on the wagon! It will all be worth it in the end.
There are many things that can make adoption seem intimidating. This is a big reason why families hesitate before taking the plunge. In fact, other barriers (aside from those mentioned in this post) may still need to be explored if you are considering adoption. What is most important, however, is that once you begin your journey, you foster an attitude of positivity for yourself, your partner, and your family.
4. Choosing an Adoption Route
There are countless options when it comes to adoption: what type of adoption will I pursue? What kind of adoption professional will best suit our needs? Is an open or closed adoption right for our family? These are just a few of the questions that hopeful adoptive families face at the onset of their journey. So, how does one finally pursue the adoption process confident that they have picked the best route for their situation?
Our best advice is to research, research, research! Find out about all the different types of adoption– infant, child, domestic, international, sibling, or family adoption. Determine what your biggest needs are and where your family is or is not flexible. Next, decide what adoption professional will be the best fit for your adoption. Do you need a lawyer to facilitate the adoption? Or would you prefer to have more of the legwork taken off your hands and use an agency? Each family’s situation is different, but it is worth exploring your options!
Another choice, as if a hopeful adoptive couple needs one more choice to have as they pursue adoption, is whether an open or closed adoption is best for them. Open adoption has changed throughout the years, and many people are finding that it really is an incredible option for their adoption plan.
Adoption is no easy process, and specifics should not be taken lightly. But don’t let the choices, costs, and waiting times overwhelm you. For each question, there is always an answer. And take heart; thousands have walked this path before you, and there are plenty of resources to help you navigate your way through your adoption journey.