A lot of people have asked us how the adoption process works, so I want to explain the basics. There are many different ways to adopt- through foster care, internationally, domestically through an agency or privately through a lawyer. Some people adopt relatives or step children. There are lot’s of choices and we decided to do domestic infant adoption. Originally, we were going to adopt from Korea, but after looking into it we realized that it is more expensive, the wait is longer, it is very hard to adopt a girl, and the baby is usually a toddler by the time he/she comes home. Since we have missed almost everything with Lucy, we don’t want to miss anything with our next baby. How strange that the few things we will miss out on with our adopted baby (conception, pregnancy and birth) are the only things we got to experience with Lucy. Anyway, the adoptions are also different depending on the agency you choose.
The basic steps are:
- Apply to the agency, get accepted
- Complete infant adoption training classes
- Complete the home study, get approved
- Decide on our preferences (gender, race, age, drug exposure, etc) for our baby
- “Go Live” which means our profile is available for birth parents to look at
- Be “matched” or chosen by the birth parents to adopt their baby
- “Placement” happens when the baby is born and the parents sign the adoption papers
- We bring our baby home and celebrate!
- The adoption is finalized several months later
Some Common Questions:
How much does it cost?
It will be about $22,000 for our adoption. You can see the exact fees here.
How long is the wait?
I was told the wait, with our agency, is about 10-12 months, but I think that means after we are home study approved. The home study can take several months. We are hoping to have our baby by 2015 (but would love to meet her sooner!) For some people the wait can be days, and for some people the wait can be years.
Are you adopting a girl?
The option to choose the gender of the baby also varies by agency, but with Bethany Christian Services, we are given the choice. At first we thought we should just leave it up to God and let Him choose, but after thinking and praying more, we have decided to adopt a girl. It is very important for us for many reasons (and NO, we are not trying to replace Lucy, as if that is even possible.) Out of all the choices we have regarding our baby (race, special needs, drug exposure, open/closed adoption) the most important one, by far, is gender, and we ache for a baby girl. So, we are adopting a baby girl. This could make our wait much longer since some birth moms make their adoption plan and choose their adoptive parents in their first trimester.
Are you adopting a caucasian baby? African American? Asian? Hispanic?
Like the gender choice, our first instinct was to be open to all races and let God decide who our daughter is. We would actually love a baby of color (any color!) I feel a connection to African Americans, since I grew up in Africa, and Josh and I have a deep love for Korea (and Japan, China and Thailand too.) But, the more we learn about it, the more we see that it is much more complicated than we think. We don’t see color in our family (our boys have still NEVER noticed that some people have different colored skin), but most of the world does, and Alabama does especially. We have to make sure we are committed to teaching this child how to live in this country as a minority. We have to give the child a rich, diverse community to grow up in. We have to support her cultural background. We ultimately have to do what is best for the child. We are still praying about this and will do what we think God wants us to do, but right now we are open to all races.
Can the birth parents change their minds?
The birth parents have five days (in Alabama) after the birth of the baby to change their minds about their adoption plan. This is often a very scary time for the adoptive parents, knowing the birth parents could choose to parent and break their hearts. It is important to remember that this is THEIR baby to begin with and I do not want to adopt their baby if they are not completely sure about their adoption plan. For us, adoption is much lower risk than trying to have a baby naturally. No one will be dying. The “worst” thing that could happen is the baby ends up with her own parents, so it’s a win win for us.
What is an “open adoption”?
Most domestic infant adoptions today are considered “open” adoptions. This means that the biological parents have some type of contact with the adoptive parents and baby. Usually, the adoptive parents and birth parents discuss the level of “openness” they are comfortable with and make a plan before the baby arrives. Sometimes the birth parents feel like it’s too painful and they don’t want any contact, and sometimes they want regular updates and occasional visits. The ideal situation for us is whatever our birthparents want. More than anything, we want them to feel comfortable with the adoption plan that they choose, so we are open to whatever they decide. We love these people already, and they will always be a special part of our family, whether they choose an open adoption or a more closed one.
Will it be harder to love this baby than it is your biological children?
Absolutely not. God chose this baby for us and knew that this baby would be a Weathersby before we were even created. We love this baby already so much. I cry every time I think about meeting our baby for the first time, just like when I was pregnant with Liam and Asher and Lucy. I would cry every time I thought about giving birth and meeting them. I have even heard some adoptive parents say they have a hard time loving their bio kids as much as their adopted child because they actually “chose” the adopted kid and they were “chosen” for him or her. Of course, we will love all of our children equally, unconditionally and without effort.
We are still kind of new to all of this and we are still learning about all of the details. If you have any questions about our adoption, please ask! Just like my losses and anti-kell antibody issues, I feel very open about it and actually love to talk about it. Adoption is such a beautiful, fun journey and we are so thankful God has led us to this.