Archive for December, 2018

How Long Does It Take to Adopt a Baby?

Adopting a baby is an exciting, life-changing milestone for families. The anticipation and process leading up to this moment, however, can feel like a lifetime for those that have long-dreamed of becoming parents: When will you be able to welcome your child home? How long does it take to adopt a baby, to complete a home study, or to get matched with an expectant/birth mother? If you are just beginning the adoption process, what should you expect in terms of adoption wait times?

Adoption wait times can vary, depending on which route you take in your journey to adopt – domestic and international adoptions, for example, vary greatly in length. Wait times can also vary depending on the type of adoption agency you choose, or how much time a birth mother needs to take in choosing the right family for her baby. Below, Adoptions With Love breaks down the typical length of the domestic adoption process, from the home study to the finalization of your adoption papers.

Applying to Adopt

Your first step in the adoption process should be a conversation with yourself and your family members: do you wish to adopt a child domestically, internationally, through a private agency, or through foster care? Once this decision is made, you can then select an adoption agency to begin the application process. Many states including Massachusetts require families to work with a licensed adoption agency.

Prospective adoptive parents who are interested in a domestic infant adoption should look for an adoption agency in MA.  An adoption counselor can then help you into the adoption process. At Adoptions With Love, we are a full-service, private, licensed MA adoption agency. You can come in for a free of charge consultation with one of our social workers to understand more fully how the adoption process works in our agency. If you choose Adoptions With Love, you can expect a counselor to contact you within two to three weeks of submitting your adoption application.

The Home Study Phase

The home study process takes several (two to three) months to complete.

An adoption home study is a legal requirement for hopeful adoptive families. It consists of home visits (in which a social worker comes to your home), background checks, and a series of interviews with your family, both individually and together. For Adoptions With Love, this process allows us to get to know you, your story, and what led you to adoption. The home study is also a great way for you to get to know us. Through these consultations and home visits, you can learn more about how our compassionate adoption program works.

The home study involves sharing your family story, and getting it ready to share with expectant/birth mothers, As part of our adoptive parent services, the staff at Adoptions With Love can help you create an adoptive family album and write letters to considering expectant/birth moms. These valuable tools will help expectant/birth parents get to know you and find a special connection with your family.

Average Time to Match with a Birth Mother and Finalize the Adoption

After the home study process is complete, it is time to wait for an expectant/birth mother to select you. This is the home stretch for hopeful parents, and can vary family to family. Some parents may experience a bit of a wait, while others are selected fairly quickly. There are many ways you can make the most of this time, such as taking parenting classes, preparing your home for a baby, finding a pediatrician, and joining support groups to chat with other hopeful parents waiting to adopt.

Once you are matched, you may feel a bit of relief. While the process is not yet complete, you may take comfort in the fact that you will know about how long it will take from here on out. Typically, the mother you are matched with will determine the timeline for the adoption and placement. She may be only a few months pregnant, in her final trimester, or may have already given birth.

In every state, birth parents cannot sign papers allowing the adoption until after the baby is born (in some states, an expectant father can sign papers prior to the birth). Some states will have specific time requirements. For example, in Massachusetts, birth parents must wait four days after the baby is born to sign any adoption papers.  In some states, there is a revocation after birth parents sign the consents to the adoption.  This means that they can change their minds within a specific time frame.

Most private, domestic adoptions are completed within two years. At Adoptions With Love, infants are typically placed within six to twelve months of completing a home study. We are committed to helping you grow your family.

How Long Does It Take to Adopt a Child Internationally?

Adopting a child from another part of the world is also possible for hopeful parents in Massachusetts. In order to adopt internationally, you must work with a Hague-accredited intercountry adoption agency. Keep in mind that the requirements, laws, costs, and wait times associated with international adoption will vary, depending on the country and the agency you choose. Some countries report an average wait time of six months after completion of the home study, while others (such as China) take several years.

For prospective adoptive parents, the waiting period to adopt is often full of anticipation and eagerness. And while it may feel like forever, it is important to remember that adoption wait times do generally fall within normal pregnancy timing: Couples expecting a biological child must wait at least nine months for their baby, not considering time for successful conception or any fertility treatments. Take advantage of this time with your family and your loved ones, and start preparing to bring your little one home soon.

If you are ready to grow your family and begin the adoption process, let Adoptions With Love help. Hopeful Massachusetts families may contact us anytime, day or night, at (617) 964-4357 to get started.

Creating Holiday Traditions as a Newly Adoptive Family

‘Tis the season to be jolly! The holiday season is here. For most families, this festive time of year means bright lights, extra baking, and time well spent with loved ones. Creating new holiday traditions can help bring families closer together. More than likely, you have fond memories of the holidays from your own childhood. Now think about your child and your growing bond as an adoptive family. This season is the perfect opportunity to make new traditions that are special for you and your child – cherished traditions
that can continue every year forward. Below, Adoptions With Love shares some tips for adoptive families looking to spark inspiration and
create new holiday traditions this season.

Talk it Out
Before making any choices on traditions, you should have a talk (or two). First, sit down to talk about holiday traditions with your significant other. Do you want to dedicate a special day for baking and decorating cookies, or building gingerbread houses? Would you like to let each person in the family take a turn at playing Santa on Christmas morning, or lighting the menorah during Hanukkah? Festive activities such as this can be fun for the whole family. Just like studies show that planning a vacation is half the fun –- talking about new holiday traditions can be just as exciting as seeing them through!

Consider Your Childhood Traditions
As you discuss and plan out these new traditions to start, consider your own family traditions that you took part in growing up. What were your absolute favorites? What would you change? Try to imagine yourself as a kid, and what interests your child now. What do you think your child would love? What would you love to see continue in your new little tribe?

Honor Baby’s Heritage
Perhaps your child has a different ethnic background than you and/or your partner. This poses an even greater opportunity for some new traditions to come into play. Nothing can help a child find a sense of belonging like celebrating his or her culture. Learn about some classic holiday traditions within your child’s heritage, and incorporate them into your own family’s festivities.

Celebrate the Past
The holiday season falls at the end of the year. As the New Year nears, it is often a great time to reflect on the year that was. Perhaps your adoption was finalized this year. Perhaps your new child gave you his or her first “mama” or “dada.” (Side-note: Babies typically say “dada” first, since the hard ‘d’ is easier to pronounce, so do not take offense if baby is only saying “dada,” mamas!) Whatever has happened, take some time to look back on these important milestones. There is a reason so many people like to send family letters with their holiday cards. It is all about family, and family is the reason for the season!

Look Toward the Future
Just as you should take stock in what has happened over the past year, this is a great time to look ahead to the next year. What are some family goals? What do you hope the New Year brings? You can make this a family activity. Have everyone write down some ideas for 2019, and share them with the whole family!

Give Back
As Andy Williams once sang, the holiday season is “the most wonderful time of the year.” It is extra special because of the spirit of giving. The support for homeless shelters, toy drives, and food banks is at all-time high every December. Since children are naturally giving, take this opportunity to encourage that generosity. Take your child to a soup kitchen to volunteer, or “adopt a family” and buy some much-needed coats and mittens to help keep others warm. As the Grinch himself discovered: “‘Maybe Christmas’, he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!’”

These are just a few ideas you may consider when creating new family traditions this season, as a newly adoptive family. No matter your religious beliefs, rituals are a great way to celebrate your culture and faith, while reflecting on your family’s values. Whether your family decides to wear matching sweaters and sing carols around a piano, spin the dreidel, or simply order some takeout in place of cooking for a big gathering – it will be special because it is the tradition you start and enjoy each year together. Think of NBC’s “This is Us” and all the fun, non-traditional traditions they created over the holidays! At the end of the day, what you actually do is less important than making sure you do it as a family! Happy Holidays!

Adoptions With Love is here to help hopeful adoptive parents in MA create happy, loving families through the beautiful gift of adoption. If you are interested or have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 617-964-4357. If you are a family waiting to adopt a child, be sure to read our tips on What to Do While Waiting to Adopt during the holiday season.

How the Adoption Journey Works

Whether you are a hopeful parent looking to grow your family, or you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may be considering adoption. Adoption is a very positive choice. Adoption helps many people realize their dreams of becoming a parent when they are unable to have children biologically. Adoption also helps expectant/birth parents in times of crisis, allowing them to choose a loving, forever family to raise their child in a safe and stable home.

Adoption is a positive choice, but it can also feel like an overwhelming process for expectant/birth parents and hopeful adoptive parents. Perhaps that is why you are here. You may be asking, “How does adoption work?” and “Where do I even start?” Adoptions With Love is here to guide you through this journey. We work with both prospective adopting families and birth parents looking to make an adoption plan. We will work with you to explain how adoption works, every step of the way.

It is important to know that adoption works differently for everyone, depending on their circumstance and where they live. Adoption laws, and therefore the adoption process, can vary state to state. Adoption also works differently for birth parents, expectant parents, and adoptive parents. However, the first step typically remains the same:

Start with an Agency

Birth parents and prospective adoptive parents alike must start in the same place: Finding a trustworthy and knowledgeable adoption agency. If you are just starting the adoption process, consider an agency that offers a full range of services, including counseling and support. You should always feel supported and comfortable throughout the adoption journey, and never pressured into an adoption decision. The right adoption agency will be one that listens to you and your wishes, and that promises to be there for you at every step in this process. The adoption agency you choose should also have experience with adoptions in your state, as well as understand your state’s adoption laws. For help on choosing the right adoption agency, check out this free guide.

For more than 32 years, Adoptions With Love has been helping connect birth mothers with families looking to adopt. We are a private, domestic, non-profit, full-service adoption agency. Our mission is to place children with loving, safe, forever families who will help them flourish and thrive; we strive to find the best home for each child.

How Adoption Works for Birth Mothers

Once you have chosen an adoption agency, you will be contacted by a compassionate adoption social worker. Together, you will take the time to learn more about your different options, including the types of adoption plans you can choose. Today, you can choose an open, semi-open, or closed adoption plan for your baby. Open adoption plans are often a positive choice for birth mothers and adopted children, as they allow for ongoing contact between the two families.

Openness can mean different things to different people. Perhaps annual letters and pictures, emails, or phone calls from the adoptive family would be a comfortable option for you. Perhaps you would like in-person visits once a year with the adoptive family. Or, you may prefer to stay anonymous throughout the entire adoption journey (and beyond). This is completely up to you. No matter your decision, your adoption social worker will be there, without judgement, to help you create the best possible plan for you and your baby. Adoptions With Love offers full support services for all types of adoption plans.

Once you have decided on the adoption plan you would be most comfortable with, you will have the option to choose adoptive parents for your baby. Many birth parents find peace of mind in choosing the adoptive family. If you would like, Adoptions With Love can provide you with profiles and photo albums from families waiting to adopt. You can scan these to get to know each family, understand their backgrounds, hopes, and values, and see how they will lovingly care for a child. As an expectant mother, you know what is best for your baby and can select the adoptive family that best meets your wishes. All the waiting families at Adoptions With Love are carefully screened and background-checked, to ensure the safety of their homes. No matter your choice, know that you will be choosing a stable, caring family who can provide a wonderful life for your child. You can also meet them, if you wish.

After choosing an adoptive family, your adoption counselor will also work through the other stages of the adoption process. She will help you make a plan for your hospital stay and birth, as well as through any legal documents and next steps. Your adoption social worker may also help you arrange meetings, tell friends and family the news, and help out with any necessary prenatal care. For more information on navigating the adoption process at each stage of your pregnancy, download our free guide here.

How Adoption Works for Adoptive Families

Once you have settled on an adoption agency, it is time to prepare for the journey ahead. As a hopeful family, you will need to complete an adoption application with your agency. This will include submitting personal information and any required documents. Afterwards, you will be contacted by an assigned adoption social worker from your agency of choice.

Your adoption social worker will need to know all about you and your family, so that we can ensure the best possible match. We will get to know you through a series of interviews and home visits, formally known as an adoption home study. The home study process will help us understand your wishes as a family, your reasons for adopting, and ensure that you are ready to become a forever parent.

As part of the adoption process, you will also be asked to prepare a family photo album and profile. This will detail your story, interests, and hopes for the adoption. Your adoption agency will help you compile these albums and other items together, and share them with expectant mothers looking for a family.

Adoptive parents should also prepare to meet with a birth mother, once selected. If she desires an open adoption, you may sit down with the birth mother and your adoption counselor to discuss each other’s wishes, ask any questions, and make plans for before and after birth.

Whether you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, have just given birth, or are looking to grow your family through adoption – Adoptions With Love is here to help you through the process. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your call. Contact 800-722-7731 for more information.