This guest post is by Laci Richter, an adoptive mother and author.
When my husband and I started the adoption process we were in our mid-thirties and had been married for five years. To say I was in a rush to get things moving is an understatement.
I knew from research that an adoption match can vary from a few months to a few years. We would need to find an agency, attend training workshops, complete mounds of paperwork and schedule a home study.
Once we checked all the requirement boxes and our adoption parent profile was finally ready to be presented is when the real waiting began. Every day my thoughts were consumed with “when” and most days there was nothing to do but wait.
After a few months of impatiently waiting, I realized that there were actions I could take to turn the slow passage of time into a more intentional time. I started to write, research, read and build relationships.
I found ways to network in an effort to increase our chances of matching quickly. Eventually, after a challenging season of waiting, we were matched successfully and able to grow and complete our family through adoption.
Whether you are new to the adoption process or if you have been in it for awhile, I have a few tips to share that may help you find a match with an expectant parent. These tips can turn your passive wait into an active wait and help you move forward more efficiently.
Choose an agency that is right for you
Working with an ethical and licensed adoption agency is an efficient way to find a match with an expectant parent. Identify your family’s values and priorities and make a list of agencies that match your needs.
We started our search by looking for a local agency so that we could have in person communication. We then reviewed the agency’s website to get an idea of their pre- and post-placement support for the expectant parent which was a top priority for us.
After narrowing our list down further, we called to speak to the staff and asked for referrals of adoptive families that would be willing to share their experiences.
Connect with local adoption attorneys
Research and connect with one or two attorneys in your area who specialize in adoption. Attorneys will not only help you with the legal aspects of adoption, but can also share your profile to their network of expectant parents.
Our first daughter’s match was found through a local attorney. Once we were matched, we connected her birth mother with our agency to facilitate the rest of the adoption process. We then requested the lawyer that found our match to assist with finalization.
Create a genuine adoption profile
Whether you are creating your own profile or you have hired a service, make sure you focus on being genuine. Our oldest daughter’s birth mother said that one of the reasons she chose us was because she thought the smiles in our profile looked real and not staged.
It is best to create a profile that authentically reflects your family’s life instead of marketing to every expectant parent.
Post your profile online
Use website services that will either post your profile for free or for a small fee. Create a short video to go along with your profile book. Sharing your profile online may seem uncomfortable, but recognize that the internet can be very effective at extending your reach.
Use an online matching service
I recently found several fee based online platforms that provide a matching service for hopeful adoptive parents and expectant parents. If you “self match” through these platforms, you can then contact your adoption professional to facilitate the adoption.
I can completely relate to hopeful adoptive parents who are looking to match and become a family as soon as possible. Waiting to adopt was one of the most challenging and beautiful seasons of our family’s life.
Once you have checked all the boxes required and networked all the ways you know how, I encourage you to be intentional about finding moments of joy in your wait. Staying positive and proactive in your process will help you find a match at just the right time!
Excerpt from Chapter 35 of Refuel Your Wait: Find Hope and Overcome Fear While Adopting:
On days when I was full of confidence for the future, my daydreams filled me with expectant joy. On days when I was doubtful of the future, my daydreams filled me with longing and grief.
Most days, because I was so focused on the timing, I lost faith in the certainty that we would indeed become parents. While waiting to adopt, there are many events taking place in the background that you do not see…You may not know when your profile book is being viewed and discussed. Some days you see nothing happening, but everything is happening.
Laci Richter is an author who is passionate about supporting moms in the challenges and joys of waiting to adopt and parenting. Parts of this article were adapted from Laci’s recently published book, Refuel Your Wait: Find Hope and Overcome Fear While Adopting, available on her website www.lacirichter.com and on Amazon.