“The faster, better way to adopt!”
“Adopt a newborn in a year or sooner.”
“Make your adoption dream come true for less!”
Surf the web and you’ll probably run into pitches and promotions like that, services and websites advertising the cheapest, fastest way to adopt a healthy newborn.
If you’re just beginning your adoption journey or if you’ve been at it for a while and aren’t having much luck, those come-ons can be enticing.
Newborn adoption usually takes months or even years to complete and can cost upwards of $40,000. Who wouldn’t want to save some money and time building their family?
But before you jump in, ask yourself a few questions:
- If the adoption costs more than I was told can I afford it?
- If the process takes longer than I thought am I prepared to wait?
- If the newborn I adopt isn’t healthy am I okay with raising a child with special needs?
The reason to ask yourself these questions early on is because when it comes to adoption, there are no guarantees.
Just because someone promises you a fast, easy adoption doesn’t mean it will happen. Adoption is unpredictable. Anything can happen anytime.
Just because someone promises to find you a baby for next to nothing doesn’t mean they will. And even if they do, have you thought through all of the legal and ethical issues?
Just because someone promises you a healthy newborn doesn’t mean your child will be born healthy. There are no sure bets your child won’t have a physical or mental disability, even if you were to give birth to him yourself.
Research Newborn Adoption Before Making A Decision
Talk is cheap–and sometimes it can be deceptive. Before you move ahead with your adoption plan you’ll going to need to do some basic research about newborn adoption and how the process works. Doing so now will help you avoid unpleasant surprises down the road and save your money, time and frustration.
First things first: If something sounds too good to be true, chances are it is. Don’t be afraid to look beyond the surface and see what you’re really getting.
Knowing how complicated and confusing newborn adoption can be, there will always be people who will offer to do the hard stuff for you for less and make the process less overwhelming.
They’ll promise to guide you through each step and make everything sound easy and simple, as if all you have to do is sit back and wait for your baby to be placed in your arms.
Many of them are well-intentioned and have gone through the process themselves. But sometimes they promise more than they can deliver.
Listen to their pitch. But don’t ignore the fine print or be afraid to ask questions. The more you know, the more you ask, the better prepared you’ll be when you hit a wall.
Adopting A Baby Is Unpredictable
The key to adopting a baby, whether you do it quickly or slowly, cheaply or expensively, is to minimize your risk by gathering as much information as you can. Then make your decisions carefully based on what you know using your instincts and common sense. If things change, be prepared to pivot.
Some hopeful parents, in their zeal and rush to start a family, especially after the heartbreak of infertility and failed fertility treatments, aren’t ready to wait. They’ll jump into a situation feet first, only to discover it isn’t what they thought it was. But by then it’s already too late. And instead of saving them time and money, it ends up costing them—financially and emotionally.
Resist the hard sell. Take the time now to research your options and make a list of the pros and cons of each one. As your knowledge about newborn adoption builds, your confidence will too. You’ll know what to do and how to do it. Maybe even without the help of a lot of adoption specialists.
Hire Experienced Adoption Specialists
That said, there are many advantages to spending more and hiring licensed experienced professionals. Although going through an agency may be more costly and could take longer to find a match, it offers safeguard and support that other services you may be considering lack.
So if you’re the type that prefers a lot of hand-holding, adopting a baby quickly and cheaply on your own through independent or self-matching adoption may not be right for you. Going through an agency could be worth the extra money and time.
As you create your newborn adoption plan and narrow down your options, ask yourself how much tolerance to risk do I have? What happens if the adoption goes sideways? What if the expectant parents change their mind? How resilient am I? Will I be devastated or am I the type of person who gets up quickly, dusts herself off and tries again?
Adopting a newborn quickly and cheaply isn’t the same as adopting a baby simply and safely. If you rush through it and take shortcuts by using questionable professionals and methods or penny pinch on the expectant mother’s counselling, you’ll likely be in for some surprises.
Adopting Without An Agency Is Possible, But Requires More Work
Adopting without an agency puts you at a higher risk of adoption scams. Signing up for a service that promises to find a birthmother–or more accurately, a pregnant woman considering adoption—quicker and easier may be come back to bite you. You might find that the so-called “birthmother” they’ve connected with online isn’t a birthmother, doesn’t have an adoption plan, isn’t pregnant, and may not even be a woman at all.
Looking at the service’s track record, years of service, and speaking to past clients will provide some clues about what to expect. But you also need to find out more about how they operate. How do they verify the details about the expectant mother? Do they meet her in-person or, now during COVID-19, through video-chat or do they just exchange texts? What kind of safeguards and protections are in place if the match falls through or if there are medical or legal issues regarding the mother or father?
Most services that promise you a quick, cheap and easy adoption aren’t regulated. That means that if you run into problems or the placement goes south either because the “birthmother” backed out or suddenly disappears, you’re on your own. There’s nobody to fix your problem or help you get your money back.
Having An Ethical Adoption Is Important
One thing we haven’t talked about that is really important is how ethical is the service. Are you okay with the way it makes matches? Do they treat the mothers-to-be fairly and respectfully? How much counselling, education and support do they offer? How would you feel you were in the birthmother’s shoes?
All of these questions are important because newborn adoption isn’t a one-time event. It lasts a lifetime. Your baby won’t be a newborn forever. One day your baby will grow up and ask questions.
- Why did my birthparents give me away?
- Why didn’t they want me?
- Was there something wrong with me?
- Did I do something wrong?
- What are my birthparents like?
If you’re only interested in getting a baby and have no interest in the birthmother or father, answering questions about how your child joined your family will be harder to do.
If, on the other hand, you’re honest and open with your child’s birthparents from the start and you don’t skip the important steps of meeting and getting to know them prior to the placement, you’ll be in a better position to answer your child’s questions and build his or her confidence and sense of self—especially if, as sometimes happens, the birthparents need some space after the baby is born and you go your separate ways.
Take The Time To Build A Relationship With The Birthparents
Sharing your child’s adoption story with him or her at an early age makes it more normal and natural, something your child has always known, rather than something to fear, avoid, hide or be ashamed of.
The other advantage of taking the time to build a relationship with the birthmother and father is that you’ll have access to all of your child’s medical and family history. Sometimes, if your professionals aren’t licensed or the proper screening isn’t done, they may miss or withhold valuable information to speed the placement along.
In other cases, they may offer to cover a pregnant woman’s living and medical expenses in order to facilitate more or faster matches. For their part, the pregnant woman may be reluctant to own up about certain aspects of her life or history for fear that it might jeopardize her financial assistance. Or she might simply back out of the arrangement or vanish as soon as the baby is born.
The great thing about being upfront and transparent with your child’s birth family is that they in turn will be more likely to be upfront and transparent with you. Plus, it’s nice to know that if you ever have a question, they’re only a phone call or text away.
Faster, more affordable newborn adoptions are possible. But they aren’t always simple and they aren’t always right. Next time you come across an ad promising you a quick, cheap and easy placement, think twice about it and let your urge to start a family quickly get the better of you.
Make sure to ask the right questions and know what you’re getting into. Once have a better understanding of what to expect, you’ll be in a better position to decide whether the service is right for you. And you’ll be able to create a Plan B if things suddenly go sour.
Wherever possible, be open, honest and respectful with everyone you deal with during your adoption journey, especially your child’s birthparents. It will cut down on problems in the present and help you have a happy and healthy relationship with your child and his birth family for years to come.