Officially Started

This is another guest post by my husband, M.

I just wanted to quickly post that we decided on an agency. Last weekend we made our decision and signed with Full Circle. It was a little nerve wracking to fill out the application, pay the fee and finally commit, but things have actually begun. We also decided on our local state agency that we will use for the home study, and are now starting on that.

Of course it is important to realize that we are still a long way from adopting. We first have to finish the home study which will take months, and we need to write our profile or dear birthmother letter. After that the long wait begins.

The home study requires a lot of work. We have to provide a lot of paperwork to the agency including: our birth certificates, a translation of G’s birth certificate (since she wasn’t born in the US), G’s naturalization paperwork, copies of our passports, our marriage license, our most recent tax forms, proof of our insurances (health, home, life), and vaccination records for our dog. We also need to get forms from our doctors saying we are in good health and we need to gather our five letters of recommendation, at least three of which must be from friends (not family). Plus we each need to write autobiographies detailing our lives from childhood to now including our future goals, our child rearing philosophies, our infertility history, and our motivation to adopt.

We also need to be interviewed by our social worker, get background checks (state and federal, including finger printing), before the social worker actually comes to our home. Then, hopefully, we will be approved. At the minimum it will take 2 months, probably more.

That home study is then good for a year or two (some parts have to be renewed every year) and certifies that we are allowed to adopt.

In addition we have hundreds of pages of legal documents and forms to go through for our placing agency. Then we create our profile and hope a birthmother picks us.

But we are now officially started!

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A Better Fit

This is a guest post by my husband M.

Despite the issues that we had with Adoptions from the Heart (AftH), we had pretty much decided to go with them around the time of G’s last post.  We weren’t happy with the lack of statistics (or their denial that such statistics could even exist: the only way there is no average is if there are no data points!) or their no-turning-down-a-match policy but they seemed like the best choice we had.

After meeting with one of my mother’s colleagues who had adopted, G had called up a few more agencies, none of which seemed appropriate, but there was one that had an informational session this past Saturday, so we decided to attend.  We thought we would just go and it would cement our choice to go with AftH.  We were so wrong.

The adoption materials scattered across our table

The adoption materials scattered across our table.

The agency was A Full Circle Adoptions and it is a small agency.  Really small.  Like they only have 10 couples at a time.  And it isn’t in our state, so we would have to get another agency in our home state to do our home study and post placement visits.  But the small size has the benefit of a more intimate, more personal, interaction.  In our informational meeting there was just one other couple, whereas there were between 8-50 other people in other sessions.  We met with the director of the agency and near the beginning of the meeting, G wrote a note to me “I like her”.  The group meeting ended lasting over 2 hours, and then we met privately with the director for another hour (the other couple also met privately with her in between but they only took 15 minutes or so).

One of the things we really liked about the agency was that we would get to screen the birthmothers to some extent.  When a new birthmother comes to the agency we will get a message with information about the birthmother and we get to decide if we want our profile presented to the birthmother (we’d have a very small window for this ~24 hours).  We could send medical information to our doctors to see if we would be comfortable with any medical conditions.  And if we do make a match we aren’t locked into it like we are with AftH (although it sounds like turning down a match is still rare).  This level of control is very appealing to us after the lack of control we’ve had over our infertility.

The other nice thing is the extreme methodicalness and honesty of the agency.  They go to extreme lengths to find the birthfather and get the full story for any birthmother.  They have specific, non-confrontational, methods for getting honest answers from the birthmother about drug/alcohol use, the identity of the birthfather and other questions; things that other agencies just glossed over.  The level of detail they go into may be extreme but it fits with our personalities (especially G’s).  We like the idea of getting everything right.

We were really happy with all of this, but once we talked to the director we felt like she really ‘got’ us, in terms of our backgrounds and our jobs and what is really important to us.  They understand that we are numbers people and want — or need — to see statistics and they are willing to dig up more obscure numbers for us.  When we talked to her about the other agencies we met with, she had the same ethical concerns about some of their practices: letting birthmothers call us without going through the agency, or kicking us out of the program if we didn’t accept a match.  She confronted us about things we wanted and gave us advice that we thought was unusual.  The other agencies we went to basically told us that we would have to be open to a child with alcohol and substance abuse — a topic that we’ve been studying for a while and that G may write another post on.  The director told us that we shouldn’t accept that, even after I said we would.  She said that we would be happier if we chose a birthmother that didn’t drink or do drugs and that this was a feasible choice.

She also confronted us about our thoughts about ethnicities.  She correctly deduced that substance abuse was more important to us than the ethnicity of the child — something we didn’t tell her.  She thought we could pursue a caucasian child but that if we wanted to do that we should spend some additional money (5-10k) to get on the lists for additional agencies (something Full Circle would help us do) or we could open ourselves to any ethnicity.  I really liked that she challenged us on our beliefs and was actively trying to find a solution that would fit well for us.

We left the meeting feeling very comfortable for once.  The only downsides to Full Circle is that we would need to go through some additional hoops to get the home study done (since it is cross state) and that they are more expensive than AftH.  The estimate of costs is between 40-47k not counting travel and visit costs to the birthmother’s state (~50% chance this would matter, estimated at 3k).  This is about 10k more expensive than AftH but is on par with some other agencies we’ve seen.  The money issue concerns us a bunch, especially since there are a lot of costs up front and there might be some additional costs since we are from out-of-state.

We’ve started contacting references and researching agencies in our home state that could do our home study if we do go with Full Circle.  After going through the materials Full Circle gave us, we emailed questions to them and got rapid, and more importantly helpful, answers back.  Tomorrow we’ll have a call with them to discuss the details of some of the more complicated (financial) issues.

We are still working through our feelings about adopting from other ethnicities — a difficult decision for anyone, after all you spend your life imagining a child that looks just like you — so this is a new corner to turn, but one around which I hope we will find a happy surprise.

Choosing an Adoption Agency: Part 2

This has been incredibly frustrating. Maybe some people are ok making major life decisions without having all the information, but I am not. Yet, it seems I have to be, or I will never make a decision. Like I said last time, we’ve been to three agency orientations, and basically for the past three weeks or so, we’ve had new information crop up every day or every other day that has shifted our impressions.

First, we went to IAC in NYC. It was impressive: large room, with a fairly large group (30-40 people?), free pizza and drinks (not that I could have any, but hey…), powerpoint presentation and colorful, bound notebook full of information and statistics. We felt good about it: these were modern people, with modern tools to find us modern birth moms, and they weren’t going to discriminate against us on the basis of our religious non-affiliations. We felt that it would be a good fit because the birth moms who would choose this open, modern agency with such a diverse pool of prospective adoptive parents (I think more than half the folks in the room were either gay/lesbian couples, immigrants, or mixed race couples) would potentially have a lot more in common with us than at a more traditional agency, and we would potentially be able to find a better match with a birth mom who shared some common values with us. Another plus was they were very forthcoming with all their statistics: they had average waiting times broken down by race of adoptive parents (16 months from home study for heterosexual caucasian couple) and detailed racial breakdown information about the babies. These are important to know to know what our chances are of getting a baby with the racial restrictions we specify, if we choose to do so.

There were some weird things that raised some flags: why are so many of the fees up front before any services have been rendered (approximately $20,000 is paid up front at this agency, non-refundable)? This seems to create a bad incentive structure for this agency (lure couples to sign up with them, and then no incentive to actually help the couples find good matches quickly). Also, they have this more ‘bundled’ fee structure where you pay over $20k for a bunch of mixed expenses (and then still have 7-15k of other fees later), but then on the ‘other fees’ section they have each couple pay individually for printing their “dear birth mom” flyers, which is only like $200. They claimed this is because all couples want to print different numbers of flyers, and some couples want to print a bunch and send them out to everyone. Ok, fine, but that’s no excuse. Why are they nickel-and-diming printing fees for flyers? Why not just take an average and fold that into their giant bundled $20k cost, or allow everyone 75 flyers and fold that into the $20k and then have people pay for extras if they want. That is a really weird and suspicious choice, and it raises red flags about what other unexpected expenses might be hiding in there.

Another surprising thing at IAC was that the birth moms (henceforth BMs) have two ways of making contact with you: option 1) the traditional way where they choose the agency, the agency ‘vets’ them and counsels them and shows them the families whose criteria they match, or 2) the new modern Facebook/twittery way where they find our profile online and email or message  on the website or even call us before ever contacting the agency. They say this opens doors to more birth moms because more birth moms want the system to look and feel like Facebook, and some birth moms want to find a nice family online first on their own before committing to an agency. Ok, fine, that makes sense in terms of attracting more birth moms, and giving birth moms and prospective adoptive parents (henceforth PAPs) more freedom to make their own choices. But, it also means we could be getting calls or messages from random pregnant women who are just starting to think about adoption, who might not match our criteria, and who have not gone through the agency at all for any kind of verification. This sounds a bit crazy and chaotic, but at least I see the advantage that we would be more involved in the process, and we’d have more say over who we get matched with. At IAC they refer to this as the ‘online dating’ portion of the adoption process for good reason. And at a fully open adoption agency (IAC is fully open: they require at least 1 visit per year after placement), it makes sense that you would need a chance to meet and mutually decide on a relationship with the birth mom: after all, you are deciding on adding a new member to your extended family – it would really be good if you got along, right? Still, sounds a bit scary and emotional, and re-affirms our concern that IAC won’t do that much after they get the $20k.

Overall, however, we were feeling pretty good after the orientation. There were some things to get used to, but most things made sense, and we felt like we ‘belonged’ culturally there, which was one of the things we were most worried about before (that we were too liberal and educated and non-religious for any birth mom to choose us).  The counselor who did the orientation seems really competent and sincere. Then a couple days later, I found some terrifying reviews of IAC online basically along the lines of: ‘they take your $20k and then they do nothing for you, and you wait and wait for a baby for years and never get your money back’ Or ‘they never return your calls or emails; they are so overworked and swamped with cases that you don’t get any help or attention during the process’ (these are paraphrases, obviously). On top of that, it sort of hit home slowly that while IAC has been in business for years and years in California (with lots of good reviews at the CA office) and has hundreds of placements each year, all the bad reviews were coming from other offices, and the office in NYC is only a few years old and has no reviews to speak of. So they basically have no experience in New England; all the people at the orientation were from NYC it seemed, and the orientation was clearly aimed at them. It also seemed a bit strange that they had only one main counselor for all adoptive families coming to the NYC office, which also covered all of CT (overload, anyone?).

These things were really confirming our fears, and by the time we went to the Adoptions from the Heart orientation in Glastonbury, CT we were feeling pretty unsure. But, once again after the orientation at AFTH, we were feeling pretty good. Here’s what happened. AFTH seemed completely different. There were only four couples at the orientation, and the orientation was run by the district supervisor, with the social worker who would be in charge of our case sitting in. It was very intimate. AFTH has a similar number of placements per year as IAC (160? or so), but the number of adoptive parents who sign up each year is smaller. Which you would think would indicate that their average time to placement might be even faster, but who knows, since AFTH claims ‘there are no averages’. Clearly they do not understand basic math, but lets get back to that later. AFTH presented themselves as fairly open, but in fact, they are what most places call ‘semi-open’, which means they require non-identifying pictures and letters to be sent between BMs and PAPs once a year through the agency (and once a month for the first six months). By this point we had already gotten pretty used to the idea of an open adoption (although all the other couples at the orientation were shocked and scared of the openness), and semi-open sounded pretty good. The supervisor explained the philosophy as ‘you can always make it more open later, but you can’t un-open it, once it’s open’, which made sense. Given what we’ve read elsewhere that BMs sometimes need some time to grieve apart at first to come to terms with things, and that other times BMs think they will be very involved at first and later disappear, the idea of semi-open with the option to open things later sounded pretty sensible. I think we are still open to more openness as well, but semi-open does seem like the most ‘comfortable’ option for us at this point.

Another big difference at AFTH was that there is no ‘online dating’. We make our dear birth mom letters, and they send the letters to the birth moms who match our criteria. Once a birth mom picks us, we have no say whatsoever. If we decline the match, we are booted out of the agency. Goodbye. The end. Ouch. We may not get to meet the BM before the placement, and in any case, we have no ‘decision’ to make once we do meet her, unlike at IAC, where we mutually choose each other. At AFTH, we have to accept any match they give us that matches our criteria or we’re out. So on the one hand, AFTH is facilitating everything (the communication between BMs and us, and the matching between BMs and us), and on the other hand, we have very little control or involvement in the process. They’re doing more of the work, and we’re more out of the loop. Pros and cons all in one. On the plus side: AFTH has years of experience in our state, the fee structure is pay-as-you-go (e.g. $950 for the application and educational courses, and then $1600 for the home study, $6k to start the matching process, and then $22k only once we have a placement, plus the other fees as they come up), BMs are required to get a medical exam, they have a community of adoptive families in our area that we could become part of.

Ok, now to the weird things. AFTH refuses to provide an average wait time. They say ‘there are no averages’. I’m sorry, but an average is a mathematically well-defined quantity, and it most certainly does exist. They say they don’t want PAPs to think the average wait times are guarantees, and that every family is different. Ok, fine, so what they need to do is educate their PAPs about what average means, and educate themselves on what average means (and, ideally, educate themselves and their PAPs on what variance means). They are telling two PhDs who work with statistical models for a living that there are no averages, and this is infuriating. What are they trying to hide? We send a follow-up email with a number of questions, one of which re-iterated this question, stating explicitly that we understand this is no guarantee and that there is a lot of variation. We got exactly the same reply: there are no averages. Every other agency gives their average wait times up front – what’s the deal? This secrecy is really making me nervous. All they will say is that 70% of their couples have been with them less than a year, and the longest-waiting couple right now is around 2 years. Of course all this means is that most of their couples signed up recently, and says absolutely nothing about how long we might expect to wait for a placement. I want to write them to give them a piece of my mind and a basic statistics lesson, but of course I can’t because I need them to be on my side if we do choose them. They were also scarily sloppy with their other statistics: on their statistics info sheet, they break down placements into caucasian, african american, and bi-racial. No where does it say that caucasian actually includes hispanic and asian (asian? hello?), and that bi-racial is any mixture of african american. This sloppiness and apparent deceptiveness makes me very nervous. We also asked them about alcohol and drug use by their birth moms, and got a similarly evasive yet scary answer: the majority of their birth moms have been exposed to some sort of substance. Ok, so because they are unwilling to provide us with information, we at this point have no idea what the chances are of getting a caucasian (if this is what we decide), substance-free baby from them, but it doesn’t seem to be so high.

OK, last one is easy. Wide Horizons has been crossed off the list. Their domestic adoption program seems to be dying, and they explicitly said that if we want a substance-free, caucasian baby, we should look elsewhere. As I mentioned, I’m not sure exactly how restrictive we want to be yet, but knowing that a caucasian, substance-free baby is even a plausible possibility that doesn’t take 10 years to wait for would be nice to know.

What do you think? Am I being overly harsh on AFTH? Or, does the non-refundable 20k up front for IAC with no guarantees sound scarier? It’s not like I actually think either agency is actually a bunch of scam artists or anything, but these things are making me nervous. Oh, and did I forgot to mention, we basically have no other choices. We need to get a home study done by an agency licensed in our state, and these are the three biggest and least discriminatory in our state. AFTH seems like a safe bet since doing the home study will only be $950 + $1600 (and then we could potentially go to another agency in another state if we were unhappy with them), whereas with IAC it’s all or nothing.

Choosing an Adoption Agency: Part 1

We settled a while back on private, infant adoption as our top choice. We knew we want a baby, rather an a toddler or older child, and this is basically the only way to do that anymore. It’s possible to foster-adopt babies through the state, but this is a very different process than adoption: you have to be prepared to care for a child for years without knowing if you will be able to adopt them in the end, and the state is obligated to try to re-unite the child with his/her biological family if that can be done safely. Also, whereas babies are given up voluntarily in private adoption, they are given up involuntarily (taken away by the state) in the foster system, and this obviously has dramatic consequences on many things. Having made the choice to do private, infant adoption, there are still so many options to choose from. You can go with an agency, which is a one-stop resource for everything: the social workers at the agency counsel and educate you, (different ones) counsel the birthmother, they do the home study, they do outreach and locate birthmothers, they play matchmaker between prospective adoptive parents and birthmothers, they facilitate communication between them during and possibly after placement, they may provide continued support for birthmothers and adoptive parents after placement, and they may provide a community of adoptive families to join as part of a support network. Almost everything can be done through the agency, except some legal services, which, especially if they’re out-of-state, may require the services of a lawyer, but one that the agency will help you find. The other main option is to go through a lawyer, in which case you may have to do your own outreach and find a birthmother on your own, you’ll have to hire a social worker to do the home study, and you won’t have a support network or social worker to work with. In some states it’s illegal to go through a lawyer, and in some states it’s illegal to do your own outreach. Both are legal in our state, but we are planning to go with an agency.

So we have been researching a lot about agencies online, and we have now gone to orientation meetings at three different agencies in three states. You can learn a bit looking online at the agency, but you learn a lot more when you meet them in person and hear about their agency and how things work there. Choosing an agency is a huge deal because they differ a lot. Most issues that distinguish agencies touch on the various fears I wrote about earlier.  That’s why we’ve been working through these fears as we’ve been trying to choose an agency. Here’s a sampling of some of the issues:

  • COST. Probably one of the first fears to face after choosing adoption is cost. Private adoptions cost $35,000 to $50,000 roughly. And different agencies have very different costs, cost structures, and payment plans. Different things are included or not included in different packages so it’s quite hard to compare agencies’ costs.
  • WHERE ARE THEY LICENSED? Agencies have to be licensed in a state in order to do home studies in that state (otherwise, you have to go outside the agency and often pay extra for the home study). Agency costs also depend on where the birthmother comes from. Nearly all the legal work for the placement itself must be done in the state where the baby is born, and the costs agencies give are often for states they are licensed in (noting that out-of-state or out-of-network placements will require recruiting another agencies’ services, and accruing corresponding costs).
  • PHILOSOPHY/RESTRICTIONS. What kind of adoptions do they do? Open, semi-open, or closed (few agencies do closed anymore)? Openness in adoption is another common fear (as I’m learning by talking to other couples or singles going through this process). Does the agency discriminate on the basis of religion, race, sexual-orientation, or marital status (many do)? This is yet another fear: will the agency exclude us altogether or discriminate against us on the basis of our religious orientation? Or will they steer birthmothers away from certain prospective adoptive parents? We have ruled out many agencies that have religious or other restrictions.
  • OUTREACH. How does the agency find birthmothers? Are you expected to look for birthmothers on your own too?
  • MATCHING PROCESS. How are your profiles shown to birthmothers (online, in a book, before/after filtering by your restrictions, before/after counseling)? How are you matched to a birthmother? How are the criteria you set out about acceptable situations (race, drug/alcohol use, hereditary diseases, etc) used in the matching process? Can you decline a match?
  • STATISTICS. How long is the average wait for a baby? What does the wait depend on? How many placements do they do per year? How many prospective adoptive parents do they have each year? How often do matches dissolve (birthmother changes her mind before birth)? How often are there disruptions (birthmother changes her mind after you already have the baby)? What are the characteristics of the babies (race, special needs? etc)? What are the characteristics of the prospective adoptive parents in their pool (married? single? gay or straight? what religion)? These last two are relevant for deciding whether the agency is equipped to do the kind of adoption you will need. You get the picture. Lots of factors.

So we have been collecting answers to these and many other questions. We have a giant spreadsheet comparing all three agencies we’re actively considering. Yes, that’s right, I’m Monica. At least my spreadsheet isn’t color-coded, but it is very organized and readable with headings and everything. And by the way, I re-watched the last season of Friends recently, and it’s kind of spooky how much we have in common with Monica and Chandler (from the infertility, to the long-distance marriage, to the career changing, to the adoption, to the obsessive organization, … spooky). When did I actually start enjoying organizing things? I definitely didn’t relate to Monica when I watched the show while it was on the air. Weird.

ANYWAY. I’m running out of space and time so I will have to write about the actual orientation meetings, agencies, and our impressions next time. But I guess I can tell you in the meantime that the three agencies we visited are Independent Adoption Center (NYC), Adoptions from the Heart (Glastonbury, CT), and Wide Horizons for Children (Waltham, MA) so you can check them out if you’re curious or give us some input on them if you have any experience with them! Stay tuned!

A Response to Myself

Since my last post, I’ve been coming to terms with more and more of our decisions, and feeling less defensive, if you will. I suppose it’s natural to feel a bit under attack as one proceeds with adoption. It’s bad enough that you already feel that everything is unfair because you can’t have biological children and everyone around you is having them. You’ve lost control over your life: it’s like fate has already slapped you down a million times over many years, making it clear that you can’t be a parent, something you’ve been anticipating all your life . And then you transition to the grueling adoption process, during which you have to prove to the government and various strangers that you deserve to be a parent. You have to go through a home study, which takes 2-6 months, which is an intense background check that includes medical exams, reference letters, finger printing and criminal checks, interviews about parenting styles and discipline and plans to raise the children, thorough inspection of the home, etc etc. Once you pass the homestudy, it’s not over, you have to prove yourself to birthmothers. You write a “dear birthmother letter”, and birthmothers select who they want to parent their children from a pool of possibly hundreds of waiting parents. So while infertility is an indirect, subversive attack on your view of yourself as a parent, the adoption process is a explicit, formal procedure that questions your suitability as a parent. Both processes take away the control you expected to have over your life and your family building. Add to that the feeling of injustice, already a raw nerve due to infertility, that you now have to prove yourself worthy of being a parent while no biological parent has to.

It is just so unfair, and you’d have to not be human to not feel this injustice. So I guess you can imagine that adoptive parents might feel vulnerable/sensitive/defensive about decisions they have to make under these circumstances, circumstances in which they’ve lost control over their lives and in which they’re working from a presumed state of unworthiness. These decisions feel weird. No biological parent has to make decisions about whether their baby should be physically like them, be their race/ethnicity, and risk not getting a baby if they make the wrong choice. No biological parent has to choose a complete stranger (or let a complete stranger choose them) to become a permanent part of their extended family in order to bring a baby into their lives. Biological parents get to control everything about the prenatal environment, whereas we control nothing. We can reduce risk by excluding birthmothers who report using drugs and/or alcohol during pregnancy. Adoption books and agencies will all tell you: there’s no risk-free way of building your family. And this is true. And they will tell you that the decisions we make and information we provide will help reduce risk in a different way than we would’ve reduced risk with our own biological children. This is true too.

But it feels a little weird to call these decisions “decisions”, as if we have so many options now. “Decision” implies a choice between two (or more) equal options. But they are not equal. On the one hand we have the “choice” that we have internalized and imagined all our lives (a baby that looks like us), and on the other we have a “choice” to completely reconsider what our family will look like and expose ourselves to prejudice we have not been preparing for. On the one hand we a choice with less risk (no alcohol), and on the other a “choice” of more risk (alcohol). If we choose the “default” options we’ve been preparing for all our lives, it may take a very long time to get a baby, and from what we gather, many adoptive parents eventually expand their criteria to situations they didn’t initially choose because they end up waiting so long otherwise. We were explicitly told at one agency’s orientation meeting that if we wanted a caucasian baby without drug/alcohol risk factors, then we should go to another agency. It doesn’t really feel like we have much control actually, despite this appearance of so many “choices”. So maybe that’s the other reason why the thought that someone might judge us for these “choices” is so incomprehensible and infuriating. In any case, I am now getting more comfortable with the fact that our choices should not be questioned by the agency or anyone else, and in fact that it would be unethical for the agency to pressure us to move to a situation for which we are unequipped. The good agencies will not pressure you to accept a situation you are uncomfortable with: they will tell you that doing so is in no one’s best interest, and that they find homes for all their babies.

Of course, I understand why the adoption process has to be so hard. We’re talking about a woman giving us a human being. Of course, there should be laws that regulate that process and ensure that babies are going to safe homes. Of course, the birthmother should be supported and allowed to make a decision about how and with whom her offspring will grow up. We are learning more and more about how difficult the process is for the birthmothers, how much thought goes into their decisions, and how much courage it takes. They are vulnerable too, and they are scared of being judged for the situation that they are in, and they are scared about where their child will end up, about making the right decision.  It’s not fair that we have to go through such a difficult journey to have a child while others do not, but I know it’s necessary, and somehow it helps to know the birthmothers are going through a difficult journey too. I say this not because I’m a sadist, but because, as a prospective adoptive parent, the fear of the unknown is really powerful, and invokes images of vague, adversarial, menacing birthmoms. You start imagining the worst case scenarios of birthmothers who are trying to scam you for money, or they’re not even pregnant, (or both: it does happen), or they’re drug addicts or alcoholics who don’t give a damn about what happens to their baby. But in reality this is really rare, and the process for the birthmothers takes long-term planning and commitment that few scammers and drug-addicts would be capable of. It’s comforting to know that the process is hard for birthmothers because it means they care about their babies. And in that way, we are not adversarial – we have a common goal. It’s also psychologically helpful for us as adoptive parents to realize that the birthmothers are not all-powerful dictators of our futures: we are both in situations where we don’t have the control over our lives we would like to have and want the best for the baby. It seems to me this understanding goes a long way toward preparing us for a mutually-respecting relationship between us as adoptive parents and the future birthmother that will ultimately be so important for our child’s healthy emotional development. So in the end, injustice from our perspective means ensuring justice for our future child, and that’s a much better perspective to be looking at everything from.

This isn’t what I intended to write about, but apparently it’s what I needed to write about. Stay tuned for updates about choosing our adoption agency.