How Choosing Open Adoption Decreases Wait Times
This is the third in a three-part series about how increasing your flexibility and opening yourself up to more situations on your Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ) can drastically reduce your wait time, as a hopeful adoptive family.
You can read the other parts of the series on this blog! Reach out to your American Adoptions specialist if you’d like to make changes to your APQ.
The excitement of becoming an active family with American Adoptions is only the start of a life-changing journey. But, as a hopeful adoptive family, you might not realize the wait time between becoming active and bringing your child home is in your hands, in many ways.
Nowadays, the norm in adoption is adoptive families and birth parents having an open relationship. Whether it’s a “semi-open” or “fully open” adoption, the chance to form a bond from the day a match occurs to long after the baby’s birth is part of what makes adoption so special.
Did you know that you drastically improve your chance of finding life-changing adoption opportunities by committing to having an open adoption and staying flexible?
Before you continue reading, remember to always reach out to your adoption specialist for more information on completing or making changes to your APQ and how it can improve your adoption opportunities.
Deciding Your Level of Openness
As you fill out your APQ, you may include specific preferences for a birth parent of a particular race, religion or background.
Additionally, you will need to decide how open you prefer your adoption to be and the amount of contact you want with the birth parent(s) post-placement.
Generally, prospective adoptive families come into the process having already decided how much contact both during the adoption process and after finalization is preferred. However, because we require a minimum amount of openness, you can improve your chances of matching with a birth parent by considering increased openness in your relationship.
We always encourage our adoptive families to be as open as possible because of the numerous benefits to your child, and because you can help your chances of more quickly finding an adoption opportunity.
The Benefits of Open Adoption
When you become an active adoptive family, your adoption specialist will educate you on why open adoption is important for everyone involved.
First and foremost, the benefit for the child in knowing where they came from and why their birth mother chose adoption helps avoid identity issues later in life. Research shows that adolescents who have ongoing contact with their birth parents are more satisfied with their adoptions than those without a connection.
Openness allows them to understand the reasons for their adoption better, promotes more positive feelings toward their birth mother, provides them with information that aids in identity formation, and more.
Through open adoption, adoptive families and the birth parent go through the adoption process steps together. They tend to be more satisfied with the adoption process and bond over each new experience which helps build a lifelong relationship.
As with any relationship, you will discover what type of communication works best based on everyone’s comfort level, whether that’s regular contact via text, an occasional phone call or letter, or an annual in-person visit. Because the birth parent is in charge of her adoption, she will dictate how much contact is appropriate.
As the adoptive family, you can support her through the process and be there in whatever capacity is needed.
The Importance of Committing to Open Adoption Before Saying “Yes”
Finding an adoption opportunity and bringing your baby home is the most important aspect of the entire process for adoptive parents. Many adoptive families come into adoption completely open to any opportunity if it means getting to bring their baby home as soon as possible.
You might start out with specific preferences related to the background of your child.
Ben and Brandy filled out their original APQ specifying their desire to have a Caucasian-only baby and “semi-open” adoption. While certainly possible, their narrowed search parameters in the matching process caused an increase in their wait time.
Exactly one year after activation, they were presented with an adoption opportunity outside of their APQ.
“We just trusted that, if she chose us, it was the right thing, and it was going to be what God wanted for us. So, we kind of just went with it,” Brandy said.
Ben and Brandy’s story is a perfect example of how an increased level of openness and flexibility improves your chances of finding an amazing adoption opportunity. However, it’s essential that if you choose to have an open adoption or make changes to your APQ, you are fully committed to those changes.
The relationship you build and carry forward post-placement directly impacts everyone involved, especially your child. Post-adoption contact between you and the birth mother is an arrangement you mutually agree to continue.
Remember, you can always contact your adoption specialist to get answers to questions regarding your APQ and your preferences for a birth mother and child.
Making Sure You’re Ready for Post-Adoption Contact
It’s crucial that your commitment to maintaining contact with your birth mother post-placement remains a top priority.
Many birth mothers fear the loss of contact with their child and the risk that their child won’t know who they are. The apprehension a birth mother might face in initiating communication means that as the adoptive parents, you can help steer the ship in providing important updates and arranging phone calls and potential visits.
As a part of your APQ, you will decide what level of contact you’re expecting after finalization. This aspect of your APQ is where the flexibility can make a big difference in your wait time.
If you’ve initially decided that limited contact post-placement is what you prefer, your adoption opportunities might be more limited as most birth mothers prefer to have a fully open adoption.
As we’ve discussed, there are numerous benefits to having a fully open adoption and flexibility in your APQ means you’re more likely to find the perfect birth mom and child. We want you to have the life-changing adoption experience you deserve, and the lifelong well-being your child deserves.
What Happens if You Get an Adoption Opportunity Outside Your APQ?
After you’ve completed your APQ and have decided the parameters for your ideal adoption, your adoption specialist may present you with an adoption opportunity outside the scope of your APQ.
At this point, you would work with your specialist to decide whether or not you’re willing to have some flexibility and jump on what could be a life-changing adoption experience.
These are personal decisions that you and your partner must make together and be in complete agreement. Your adoption specialist will always be there to provide you with the support and guidance you need to help make a more informed decision.
Before saying “no,” consider:
- Finding out more about an adoption opportunity even if it doesn’t fit your exact APQ is worth your time, as it may end up fitting your ideal adoption better than you initially thought.
- Consider the positives! An adoption opportunity outside of your APQ might give you the chance to help a child coming from an unsafe environment. Maybe the child has medical needs. You could potentially provide the perfect home for a child when another family cannot.
- Communicate together to ensure that you are on the same page with whatever decision you make.
Are You Ready to Improve Your Chances of Finding an Adoption Opportunity?
If you’ve completed an APQ but feel as though you’re ready to become more open to different adoption opportunities, it’s never too late to make changes.
Take it from Todd and Romney, who recognized that their original APQ limited their opportunities.
“My piece of advice is to really consider your Adoption Planning Questionnaire or APQ. Looking back, I realized that our first attempt at our APQ pretty much matched our own family histories. I think this is fairly typical, but can be extremely limiting, if not a little vain,” Romney said.
The chance to start a family or add to your household through adoption is a life-changing experience. Decreasing your wait time for matching with a heroic birth parent is possible with your willingness to be more open to various opportunities in your adoption journey.
Our birth mothers are looking for an adoptive family that presents her and her baby the best chance to live a life full of opportunities. We know that you’re that family.
Read more stories from adoptive families who realized that greater openness in their adoption only meant more love: https://www.americanadoptions.com/adopt/open-adoption-stories
Watch stories from adoptive families and birth parents who share open adoptions: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNTfXXG_UzoQTJxjFi93K8FrtDVBZgOWl