This post expands on the last post, the ever expanding elastic of our adoption mindset and why we chose to pursue private domestic adoption as one of our avenues. I’ll come back to the other two avenues in later posts.
Let’s go back to the beginning and our first couple of months investigating and learning about adoption. We had 3 choices: international adoption, private domestic adoption (adopting a newborn within Ontario) and public adoption (through Children’s Aid). You can choose to pursue one, two or all three. It just gets more costly and for international adoption you can only choose one country to adopt from.
What we first learned about private domestic adoption scared us, I’m not going to lie. First off, it’s kind of like online dating in the fact that you put yourself out there and wait to be chosen by a birth family looking for a home for their child. You make what is called a profile book that speaks to who you are as a couple and your values and beliefs and this is used as the basis to showcase couples to birth families. There is no registry to add your name to where you’ll eventually be chosen because your time has come. How do you get your names out there? One way is to post your profile on websites such as Canadaadopts.com or adoptionconnections.ca and wait to see if a birth parent contacts you. You can also register with adoption agencies (usually social workers or lawyers). Then the question becomes how many agencies should we register with? Each agency comes with a registration fee to handle the paperwork, presentations of your profile up until you’re matched so it tends to come down to a question of how much money do we want to spend registering.
As for the matching, the birth family, with the help of a social worker/adoption agency, chooses the couple that they feel is the right fit for their child. Sometimes you meet in person and sometimes it’s based solely on your profile book. (Good thing Chris and I are in sales and marketing lol!) You never know what’s going to stick out in your profile so you try to be as real as possible and hope something jumps out at whoever’s searching.
Once you’re matched, it’s super fantastic but you also never know if the birth mother will change her mind and decide to parent. The birth mother also has 28 days after the baby’s born to change her mind. I totally understand and agree with this law but at the same time, it’s heartbreaking for any couple who has to go through it.
The last thing we learned about is what’s called open adoption. Open adoption is where the birth family still has a connection to their child and the adoptive family whether it be through emails, pictures, phone calls or visits. More and more adoptions are becoming open adoptions.
Needless to say, when we found out all of the above, we thought private adoption was not for us. Then we looked into it some more.
Open adoption is truly incredible once you learn about it. One of the amazing people I’ve met in my adoption journey put it best. She chose to adopt internationally for the sole purpose of not having to deal with the birth family and open adoption. Her child, adopted as a baby, is now 5 and the mother would like nothing more than to have access to his birth family and history to help answer all of his questions, of which she doesn’t have any info. Another woman I met framed it this way ‘it’s one more person to love your child and children can never have too much love.’ Unknown birth family history can hit adoptive children at any time but from the stories I’ve heard it really tends to hit home whenever a doctor asks for medical history. Another sore spot with adoptive children is having to do a family tree or where his/her genes come from in science class. Some focus on their adoptive family but either way, it’s a tough situation for any adoptive child.
Yes, the selection process and potential for having the birth family change their mind and decide to parent their child would break our hearts but at the same time, being able to be there from day 1 of our child’s life and answer all of their questions about their birth family far outweighs the risks in our minds.
We have what it takes to keep riding this rollercoaster for as long as it takes and know it will be worth it in the end!