Adoption has changed over the years and one of the biggest changes is the shift in control from agencies to adoptive parents and birth parents.
It used to be that if you wanted to adopt a baby there was only one way to do it: through an agency. From your home study to the finalization, your agency would walk you through every stage of the process and take care of everything for you.
Today, that’s no longer the case. Agencies still facilitate many adoptions.
But adoptive parents and birth parents are taking their journeys into their own hands. They’re finding each other without an agency’s assistance and arranging the placement with the help of their own licensed adoption specialists.
How they find each other differs from match to match. Every situation is different.
In some case, the waiting parents and pregnant woman will come together through word of mouth—a friend may know someone whose daughter is pregnant and not ready to parent. Or they might hear about each other through their church or someone at work.
Other times, they’ll connect through a “pass-along” card that contains the prospective parents names, contact information and message that they’re adopting. They could hand out a few hundred of them but if just one falls into the right hands they’re one step closer to parenthood.
Nowadays, especially since COVID-19 hit and slowed down many operations including some agencies, the main way people connect is online. It seems everyone today has their own social media account where they share information about themselves and the latest developments in their lives.
Most couples hoping to adopt today have their own dedicated adoption social networking accounts where they post updates on their journey and send call-outs to contact them if anyone knows of a woman with an adoption plan.
Websites are another way that prospective parents spread the word about their search for a baby to adopt. Sometimes they create the site themselves, other times they’ll join a parent profiles site where they’ll share space with other couples and singles hoping to adopt.
Parent profile sites like America Adopts! have many of the advantages of creating your own website without the costs, time commitment, or technical requirements. They’re a lot like dating sites in that you can post your profile for a fixed monthly fee. There are no long-term contracts to sign and no additional fees if you find a match.
Finding A Match Is Only Part Of the Adoption Process
Of course, finding a match is only part of the process. Once you connect with an expectant mother she will need to go through her own counseling with an adoption specialist and attorney. As a hopeful parent, you’ll already gone through your adoption training and education via your home study. But an expectant parent is going into the process cold. She needs to understand her rights and responsibilities to ensure that the decision she makes is an informed one.
One of the benefits of working with an agency is that they will vet the expectant mother before connecting her with you. That way they can get a sense of how committed she is to her plan and reduce the likelihood of her backing out before the placement.
If you’re hoping to find a baby without an agency you will be responsible for doing all of the vetting yourself and hiring adoption professionals to walk you through the process.
Finding A Match By Yourself Is Riskier Than Going Through An Agency
Sometimes, if you’re working on your own, scammers will try to take advantage of you. They’ll say they’re interested in placing their baby with you but they have no interest in going through with their plan and in many cases they may not even be pregnant.
Finding a baby to adopt on your own is riskier than going through an agency. That’s why you shouldn’t jump into a situation before you’re ready. If you move too quickly and don’t ask the right questions it could come back to haunt and set back your efforts to find a find a baby to adopt. Most scams don’t involve getting money. The scammer is more interested in getting attention. Bringing in your adoption specialists early into a situation can save you a lot of headaches and hearts aches down the road.
When it comes to making a connection with an expectant mother, there is no magic formula on how to do it. Something in your profile may catch their attention–either something in your letter or one of your photos.
You might like crocheting and the expectant mother likes crocheting. Or you may like painting portraits and the expectant mother likes to paint. Sometimes when you’re writing your profile you’ll second guess yourself and try to predict what a birthmother is looking for. Then you’ll write or rewrite your letter with that in mind but usually it won’t help you or increase your chances of finding a match.
Trying to Predict What Expectant Parents Are Looking For Is Impossible
Every expectant parent who places is unique, with her own set of preferences and criteria. You can try to figure it out all you want but you’ll never really know what clicks until you hear it directly from the person who connects with you.
Often it’s something they can’t put into words. The moment they see you—look at the expression on your face or into your eyes or at your smile—they just know. Moving from a match to an adoption can sometimes take a few months or –if you connect early in the mother’s pregnancy–many months.
During that time you have a chance to get to know each other better and to bond over other things beyond the baby. It’s during this time that you’ll know whether you’re a good match.
Finding A Baby Without An Agency Can Save You Money and Time
Finding a baby to adoption without an agency can save you money and time but you need to make sure that you have people you turn to when things get complicated and stressful. For instance, there may be some legal issues involving the expectant father or medical issues regarding the expectant mother that you need to sort out..
If you’re looking to cut costs, do it during your outreach or in your networking tools. Don’t do in the expectant parents counseling or legal work. They need to know what they’re getting into. And you don’t want them to change their minds after you take the baby home and start the bonding process.
Of course, changing their mind is one of their rights and one of the pitfalls of finding a baby to adopt without an agency (or even with one). Still, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier if it happens to you.
The best way to find a baby to adopt without an agency is to educate yourself as much as possible about the process and what to expect along the way. Although each journey is unique and unpredictable in its own way, being informed will prepare you for what’s to come and give you a better chance of finding the match that is meant for you.