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adoption

Becoming a Parent via Adoption: Everything You Need to Know

adoption

adoption

Becoming a parent is an exciting, transformative time in one’s life, and that is true whether you’re carrying your own baby, working with a surrogate, or adopting a child into your home. For would-be parents looking at the wide range of options out there for expanding their families, adopting a baby or a child can be a controversial decision because of widespread social attitudes about biological heredity.

The fact is, adoption represents a way to put children with loving families and to make lives better for the biological parents, the adoptive family, and the kids themselves. If you are ready to move forward with the process, there are a few things you should know before you get started.

Understanding the difference between adoption systems, as well as the fact that they vary from state to state in their requirements, is vital to making sure you know how to navigate this process before you plunge in.

Voluntary vs. State-Sponsored Processes

In most states, there are separate resources for would-be parents who are looking to adopt an infant through a voluntary process and those who are looking to adopt through the foster care system after parental rights are terminated, because generally speaking the state’s child welfare resources do not concern themselves with voluntary adoptions. Instead, the transfer of legal parenthood happens through a court petition.

While adopting a baby from a voluntary biological parent is generally a smooth process because both parties are seeking the arrangement, there are details to negotiate that can represent some sticking points. By contrast, when seeking an adoption through state placement, the process involves weighing the best placement choice for the child. In the U.S., 59% of all placements are through the child welfare system.

Here’s what you should know about the two systems:

  • State welfare agencies seek to act as quickly as possible after parental rights are terminated, provided placement can be found and proven to be in the best interests of the child
  • Some states include placement subsidies to help cover the costs of children adopted through the system, especially older children
  • Most state placements will not be infants, although many are very young children
  • Placement takes longer when you have more specific requirements, whether those are related to age, genetic background, or other factors, and regardless of the type
  • Voluntary adoptions can be open or closed, with several degrees of compromise, if parties want the biological parent to be involved

If you do choose to use the voluntary system, then you need to know how to navigate it, because there is not a centralized system for administering placements when you are adopting a child who is voluntarily placed with a family. Luckily, there are information networks to avail yourself of if you’re looking.

You might need to put more time and effort into the search, taking on a few processes for yourself that state placements handle for you. On the other hand, you have additional options, including international adoptions, which can increase your chances of finding the perfect fit for your new family much more quickly.

Networks for Parents Adopting Privately

Private placement agencies are operating around the country to identify and facilitate these processes, and some lawyers even specialize in this niche as part of a family law practice. They tend to have resources for finding available parents looking to place children soon after birth, so they can help. Lawyers do have costs, though, as do agencies that do the legwork to bring people together.

Private religious institutions are also known for both placing children through voluntary processes and also for maintaining larger networks with other organizations looking to place kids.

Catholic organizations are especially good at this, in part due to the church’s international efforts toward child welfare and in part because of its traditional investment in institutions like hospitals. If you are seeking a private process and you’re intent on adopting an infant, these networks can be a huge help. Luckily, for those who are considering adoption as a biological parent, the demand is high enough that working with a good agency that has an established reputation should be all you need to find a range of possible placements for your child.

Let’s Celebrate Unsung New Adoption Parents like The Hepworths

 

It’s Friday and while This blog focuses on celebrity parents, who because of their fame, some people consider them heroes, it’s a good day to highlight unsung parents out there.

Today, I would like to highlight Boise, Idaho parents  Zac Hepworth and his wife Ebie who recently welcomed two children they adopted from Liberia, Africa into their lives.

The Christian missionaries, who have fellowshipped with people in the Phillipines, Liberia and other parts of of the developing world, are proud ambassadors of adoption as well.

I can tell from stalking their Instagram accounts that they have abundant love for each other and their brand new new daughter Esther Birdwell (Birdie for short) and son, Asa Kingsman. (Ebie has a very active following of over 12,000 on Instagram). Both kids were born during the height of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The couple had been married for five years before Ebie suffered an ectopic pregnancy and lost her baby, she shares on Instagram. That’s when she says she was called to adopt and that they did, in recent weeks, while sharing their joy and every step of the process with their followers.

Check out The proof:

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{scroll thru all photos for Birdie CUTENESS} Today for #nationaladoptionawarenessmonth I want to touch on the bonding process of our daughter, Birdie. For 17 months we PRAYED for supernatural bonding, I’m sure like all adoptive families pray for. With Asa it felt INSTANTLY like he loved and needed us. With Birdie it couldn’t have been more opposite… the first few days we spent with her she LOVED us (especially her daddy). She would beg for him to hold her and would fight all the other kids in the baby home for our attention. However, once it came time for her to finally start living with us EVERYTHING changed. The second we would enter a room she would break down and sob. I lost count of the amount of times she would punch me and hit me. I felt DEFEATED. Although i was prepared for the attachment process to be a journey i didn’t expect it to feel so personal… this lasted for about 6 weeks until FINALLY after consistent feedings and creating a consistent schedule, she began to open her little heart to us. I remember looking at Zac saying, “The second i tell you i want to adopt again. PLEASE do not let me convince you.” I’m telling you guys, i was DRAINED and exhausted of trying to make our daughter love us back. The more we learned about our daughter the more we learned how to love her intentionally. That meant we needed to take her on walks, go to the beach (just like her mama), feed her rice and chicken and give her space when she needed space. We often see loving someone as holding them, kissing their face off, and singing over them, and although that’s how a lot of babies receive love, our little Birdie was different and we loved being able to explore and learn how to love her the way she needed to receive it and the second her heart opened towards us, everything changed. She started calling us “Ma” + “Pa”. She started holding us at night and asking for Oatmeal. You may not be able to tell from the photos, but our sweet Esther Birdie is an entirely different baby girl from the first time we met her. We love watching her blossom and grow more than anything ??? I’ve never loved a little girl more in my entire life. #hepworthpartyoffour #adoptionrocks

A post shared by Ebie Hepworth (@ebiehepworth) on

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As most of you know my lovely wife @ebiehepworth and I are adopting 2 beautiful children, a baby boy and a little girl. We couldn't be more honored to hold them soon and hold the title of Mom and Dad. Maybe not all of you knew this detail but before we said yes to adopting our son we were informed that he was diagnosed with a serious disease. One that would remain with him for life. Our hearts sunk hearing this news but our faith refused to sink. As the adoption agency asked if we still wanted to move forward adopting him, we felt no other option (not out of guilt but out of a fatherly/motherly heart). Our next step was to petition heaven! So we began praying ourselves and asked our active community prayer army to join us. Long story short, soon the doctors ran several tests again only for the results to show the disease came back negative….Thank You Jesus???? Even after this prayer was answered our son wasn't showing much expression. He seemed very fatigued from fighting sickness. But just a couple days ago we received news that he was smiling and laughing!!!! I can't think of better news to fill up our hearts with. We've prayed for these children and prayer is a powerful tool.|Please continue to pray that this does not show back up in his system| • • • ?: @mrsatom5 #teamworkmakesthedreamwork#hepworthpartyof4#adoptionrocks#africanadoption#adopting #adoptinghim #takesavillage #purereligion #momanddad❤️ #increase #fullhearts #takesavillagetoraiseachild #homesoon? #adoption #adoptingher #adoptionislove #missingyoualready #celebration #family #lovemakesafamily #jesus #thankyou #purpose #inspire #lovewins #victory #team #cantlose #goodnews

A post shared by Zac Hepworth (@zachepworth) on

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With the best of my imagination, I could have never imagined I’d be a father to this sweet little girl. She has the kindest heart, she’s unbelievably smart, her curiosity is so freeing, and when she smiles she truly lights up a room. Happy Birthday Birdie girl, your mom and I are so blessed by you. We love you!!| ? ? ? ?? • • • ?: @callielindsey killed this photo shoot, if you’re looking for a photographer, check out her page!! #happybirthday #love #3yearsold #loveyou #birthdaywishes #mylittlegirl #bestahead #birthdaygirl #birthdaywishes? #birthdaywishescometrue #mylittlegirl❤️ #mylittlegirls #3yearsoldtoday #speaklife #smile #mylove #babygirl #littleandbrave #girl #baby #birthdayprincess #shine #november #princess #myworld #myprincess #withlove #family #celebrate #blowoutthecandle

A post shared by Zac Hepworth (@zachepworth) on

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As for my daughter, I’ll raise her fearlessly. Never dulling her passion, hushing her thoughts, or asking her to stop dancing. I’ll teach her that love is a person, and it’s that love that drives out all fear. We’ll make sure passion is all she knows, and fearless living is the only option. In honor of my sweet Birdie girl we ( @fearlessgirlco ) want to do a flash sale of our book and course. Today (10/4) thru Friday (10/6) if you input the code BIRDIE you can get $5 off the book and online course! But WAIT, it doesn’t stop there, I want to do a giveaway and send 3 people the book. To enter, follow me + @fearlessgirlco and tag a friend! The more tags the more entries. ?? I’ll DM the winners and mail you the book Monday AM!

A post shared by Ebie Hepworth (@ebiehepworth) on

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I love my family.| • • • Also big shout out to @adoptionstoryfund, without their heart & mission our adoption journey wouldn’t be the same! They SIGNIFICANTLY helped make all of this possible. If you or anyone you know is adopting/thinking about it, check this awesome organization out! • • ?: @callielindsey #teamworkmakesthedreamwork#hepworthpartyof4#adoptionrocks#africanadoption#adopting #adoptinghim #takesavillage #purereligion #momanddad❤️ #increase #fullhearts #takesavillagetoraiseachild #homesoon? #adoption #adoptingher #adoptionislove #missingyoualready #celebration #family #lovemakesafamily #jesus #thankyou #purpose #inspire #lovewins #victory #team #cantlose #goodnews

A post shared by Zac Hepworth (@zachepworth) on