Sunday, February 14, 2016

Adoption Process - What Does Our Experience Look Like?

Time to check back in after a few busy weeks!  Just recently, we have received a big jump in screening calls, work has clicked into a higher gear, and I was also somehow able to make time to meet with some friends in the adoption waiting pool or currently exploring the possibility of adoption.

Just sitting down to talk and think about the process of adoption got me thinking.  When we first started our journey, one of the things I found the most interesting and engaging were the stories from adoptive parents.  Their direct experiences represented a real connection to what Andy and I were signing ourselves up for.

Our first adoption with Dominic went very quickly.  That was great for us, but it also meant that we had a completely different experience compared to our time for this second adoption.  In fact, now feels like a great time for a refresher on the overall process to compare the two.

Typical Adoption Process
Looking at the basics, the adoption process after entry into the waiting pool distills down to a few key points for every adoptive family.
  • Everything starts out with a splash into the waiting pool on Day 1.
  • At 12 months, adoptive families need to sign a fresh yearly contract with the agency and some other minor paperwork.
  • Next up is the average wait time for adoptive families at 14 to 15 months.  
  • At 21 months, families still in the pool will approach a decision point and need to update their homestudy to remain in the pool after 24 months.  Many families opt to update their materials at this time as well.
  • At 24 months, families will again sign the yearly contract and redo paperwork.
  • This process will then repeat in two-year intervals (aside from pool entry) until adoptive families are either selected or leave the pool.
Our Experience
With Dominic, we barely made it into the chart above before we were chosen (just 2.5 months).  On this go around, there has been a lot more to document!  Building on the base chart, I've overlaid several key elements during our wait:
  • Current Wait Time - 20 months
  • Material Updates - 1
  • Screening Emails/Calls - 17
  • OA&FS Counselor Changes - 2
  • Dominic's Birthdays - 2

While our experience isn't done yet, we are rapidly approaching the stage where we will begin a new homestudy.  We will hopefully have a new counselor soon who we will team up with for that effort and to help review a refresh of our family letter and book given that a lot can change in a year.

Until then, Andy and I are looking forward to a break away from thinking about adoption and work as we are taking a brief vacation out to Hawaii.  We haven't been there since our honeymoon over 5 years ago, so it will be fun to get away for a few days and recharge!