Since the first specialized adoption agencies were established in 1910, there has been a transformation in the adoption process throughout the United States. In my work as an adoption consultant over the past 14 years, I’ve seen drastic changes; in fact, domestic infant adoption in 2018 is different than it was even just a few years ago.So if you’re thinking of adopting, it’s more important than ever to do your research and be prepared — because adoption is not at all the same as when it was when your parents might have considered it or even your older siblings and friends. Here are three major ways in which the process continues to evolve in 2018 and beyond.
Fewer domestic placements
The number of domestic adoption placements has gone down in recent years for a few reasons — namely, but not limited to, the increased access and ability for expectant moms to terminate a pregnancy and the decreased societal stigma associated with single motherhood. This reduction of domestic adoption numbers has also been exacerbated by the closing of international programs. Today, there are significantly fewer robust international adoption programs than there were even just a few years ago. With the reduction in international adoption options, more and more adoptive-parent hopefuls are pursuing domestic adoption.As a result of the confluence of these trends, there are now fewer babies being placed for adoption domestically and more hopeful adoptive parents looking to adopt those very few babies. So, naturally, adoption wait times have increased.
- Be proactive in your adoption search
- Work with multiple placement sources so you see as many opportunities as possible
- Have a great personal profile so when you are presented to an expectant mom, you have a greater chance of getting selected
Since adoption consultants help with all of those aspects of adoption, more and more hopeful adoptive parents are hiring a consultant to help guide them through the journey. This can leave those who are unable to work with a consultant at a disadvantage in this difficult adoption climate.More: I Placed My Son for Adoption — It’s OK If I Die Without Another One
Higher fall-through rates
While fall-throughs do not happen nearly as often as many people fear, there are more scams out there today than in years past, simply given the ever-multiplying methods of online interaction. Then, of course, some fall-throughs are due to expectant mothers having a change of heart — perhaps thanks to society being more supportive of single motherhood or any other myriad reasons.For potential adoptive parents to protect themselves, it’s more important than ever for them to have some sort of unbiased and experienced advocate on their adoption team to help conduct a balanced risk assessment on every opportunity with which they are presented.
Implications of an online presence
One way to get the benefit of online visibility with little of the risk is to work with adoption agencies and attorneys that do significant online outreach for potential birth moms but who do not post your profile containing your direct contact information. Not only does this relieve you from having to learn all about online advertising, algorithms and data, but it also leaves the responsibility to the agencies to vet any expectant mom who contacts them. Ideally, they’ll do so through in-person interactions prior to any match being made.More: I Don’t Regret Giving My Son for Adoption
If you are considering adoption, it’s important to understand today’s landscape because information and advice you receive from those whose adoption experience is from even just a few years ago may no longer be valid. Although the recent changes may seem to make adoption more challenging, that’s not necessarily the case. As long as you stay informed and approach the process with a knowledgeable, respectful and open-minded perspective, adoption can be a beautiful and successful way to grow your family.