Many couples who come to adoption, especially those who may have spent a lot of money and emotion on fertility treatments, are hesitant to spend money on adoption. And many ask “Why isn’t adoption free?”
It seems like it should be simple… A birth mother wants to place her baby, a couple wants to adopt a baby, it should take minimal effort, right? The truth is that there is so much that goes on to make adoptions happen. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are wondering why adoption agencies have to charge parents for adoption services:
24 Hour Staffing
Lifetime’s adoption professionals are available 24 hours a day. They are experienced, trusted adoption coordinators and you can be sure that if you need them any time, day or night, they are there. More importantly, they are there around the clock to be available for birth mothers. If the birth mother who wants to choose you calls at 2:30am, do you want her leaving a message on a voicemail? Or worse, do you want her to hang up because no one is available to talk to her? One of the keys to Lifetime’s success is our 24/7 availability.
1 in 10…
For every one woman who completes an adoption plan, adoption agencies are typically working with another nine who will not choose to move forward for one reason or another. Sometimes she loses the baby, encounters a birth father who refuses to sign, or simply changes her mind about adoption. There is no way of knowing which woman will choose adoption, so at Lifetime we provide every potential birth mother with the same standard of care, compassion, and support in her decision making process.
Adoption includes your whole life typed up in a document called your Home Study. This, along with the required backup information, has nearly every personal detail about you printed on paper. At Lifetime, we take your data’s security very seriously and have systems in place so that only authorized people have access to your personal information. This is important because smaller organizations or those run out of a home office may keep your adoption files in a garage or in a filing box at a storage facility. Lifetime families have the confidence in knowing that we have layered security in place and all your documentation is kept private and secure. This includes the information on your child’s birth parents.
There are many people running adoption scams, posing as birth parents in order to obtain financial assistance fraudulently from adoptive parents. Lifetime’s screening process is designed to minimize the potential for our families to experience an adoption scam. This means many of the people trying to run a scam are weeded out before they ever have the opportunity to involve a Lifetime family.
A program like Lifetime Adoption works nationwide to serve birth parents who are considering adoption. Working nationwide offers many benefits to birth parents as well as adoptive families. For birth parents, it also allows them a greater variety of adoptive families to choose from. For adoptive parents, they have greater opportunity to be selected sooner for adoption when their adoption search is open to more than a local match. Nationwide services also enable adoptive parents who may live in states with restrictive adoption laws to take advantage of the laws of the state of the birth mother who selects them. Finally, some people prefer a non-local adoption for privacy reasons. Many people do not want to run into their child’s birth mother or adoptive parents in their home town, but still want to develop a positive connection for a child through open adoption. Today, the options available in adoption go beyond local boundaries to offer all involved the opportunity for the best possible match.
Lights, Computers, and More!
Like other organizations, there are costs to operate, such as utilities, the computers, the staff to support the people we assist, and the staff to run the behind-the-scenes needs such as content creators, web experts, administrative support, and even someone to do the mail. Adoption agencies are not staffed with volunteers; these are qualified people who are putting in over forty hours per week, year after year. As with a biological pregnancy, you are relying on educated and trained professionals to assist you in bringing your baby home.
Adoption Planning and Matching
A lot happens before adoptive parents are contacted about a birth mother who is ready to move forward. Before an adoption match begins a birth mother may have counseling or legal consultation, and needed help with prenatal care or other basic needs. Her adoption coordinator will have prepared a custom packet of adoptive parent profiles, pulled medical records and clarified questions in her paperwork. Then, if the first family chosen refuses the match, the coordinator starts over for the next adoptive parents, after sensitively explaining to the birth mother that she has to choose another family. (Little known fact: More adoptive parents back out of potential matches than birth mothers!) This may sound rather simple, and some matches require more than others, for example when medical records are obtained after ten requests previously, or when a birth mother does not have her own phone for contact, or when an adoptive family neglects to retain the necessary legal assistance. To add, all of these details are happening for multiple adoption matches at once, each handled with care and confidentiality to keep the process as smooth as possible for the birth mothers and adoptive parents involved.
At Lifetime, we believe strongly in adoption education and preparation for adoptive parents and birth mothers. Adoptive parents have access to at least two exclusive webinars each month, as well as a team of professionals who help with profiles, websites, and maintaining records necessary to adopt. Support and preparation during the waiting is something many other adoption agencies usually don’t provide. Birth mothers also have a team dedicated to one-on-one support, counseling, peer support, emotional well-being, and are thoroughly informed in all stages of adoption planning, from research to placement.
Adoptive parents hire an agency for one adoption, although much of the work completed to lead to that one adoption may go unseen. At Lifetime, when adoptive families have spent a week or even a day volunteering with us, they are amazed at the level of activity and the work that goes into a seemingly ordinary adoption. It helps some adoptive parents to visit the agency they are seriously considering to help them see the people and process happening behind each adoption.
Finally, we at Lifetime understand the emotional and financial costs involved in pursuing a path to adoption and we work diligently to help adoptive parents invest wisely in the services their adoption will need. We do everything possible to help adoptive parents learn how to plan for a reasonable adoption budget and to stay in budget as they move forward. Adoption, as with all major milestones worth pursuing in this life, may require some planning and sacrifice, but other adoptive parents will tell you it’s worth it. Your adoption success with Lifetime Adoption or any adoption agency should be measured in the joy you have in being a parent each day!
If we can help you learn more about funding adoption or the steps to building an adoption through Lifetime, contact us today.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.