When pursuing adoption, it is important for you and your spouse to examine just how flexible you are regarding potential adoption situations and how long you are willing to wait for “the call.”

Once a couple is activated, the adoption process is largely out of their hands as they wait for a birth mother to select them. However, there are three areas in which a couple can impact their wait: their Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ), adoption budget and adoptive family profile.

Adoption is a personal decision, and it becomes even more personal when considering what types of adoption and adoption situations you and your spouse are open to. While this adoption journey is yours, you should also step back and consider what is most important to the two of you and what aspects may not seem so important after all. While it is perfectly OK to be strict in your adoption preferences, you should also recognize that couples with stricter or narrower adoption preferences typically experience a longer wait time than those who are more open to various factors.

For instance, if you and your spouse are only comfortable adopting a Caucasian newborn boy whose birth mother reported no drug usage and had limited significant medical history, then you may endure a longer wait. However, if you are open to adopting a child of either gender from all races, or a child whose mother may have reported light drug use during her pregnancy, then you will likely experience a shorter wait. Similarly, increasing your budget will grant you more exposure to more adoption situations, such as a birth mom who needs more living expenses because she lives somewhere with a higher cost of living.

Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ)

Before beginning an adoption journey, carefully examine what types of situations you and your spouse are comfortable with – including drug use and its possible effects, medical conditions in a birth mother’s or her extended family’s medical history (such as depression, ADHD and diabetes) and other considerations such as race and gender. We recommend that each couple consult a trusted pediatrician for medical advice. You can read Tips for Finding a Pediatrician to get started. We also recommend that families evaluate their community to determine if they can provide a good environment for a child of another race.

Adoption Budget

At American Adoptions, each family has the freedom to set an adoption budget that makes them comfortable. The larger a family’s budget, however, the more adoption situations that they’ll be exposed to. Each adoption budget covers two types of expenses: fixed costs (case management and advertising fees) and variable expenses (birth parent living expenses, medical expenses and legal fees). By increasing your adoption budget, your family will be more available to adoption situations with a greater range of variable expenses.

Adoptive Family Print and Video Profile

Lastly, adoptive families can influence their wait times with the quality of their print and video profiles. As you work on your profiles, be sure to thoroughly fulfill American Adoptions’ and Show Pro’s text, photo and video requests. Also make sure to take suggestions from your Adoptive Family Specialist, Media Specialist or Video Specialist into consideration, since they know from experience what might best appeal to potential birth parents and how to maximize your family’s strengths and unique qualities.

Carefully consider your emotions – if you feel you would rather wait longer and have a more limited adoption plan, then the choice is yours. If you desire a shorter wait and feel the most important aspect is bringing home your child as soon as possible, then perhaps you should consider becoming more flexible in order to be shown to a broader pool of potential birth parents.

However, do not indicate openness to situations you aren’t 100 percent comfortable with in an effort to reduce your wait time. American Adoptions will ask you to follow through on a situation that meets criteria you’ve said you’re comfortable with. The most important thing is to be as flexible as makes you comfortable. And remember that you are always free to change your mind prior to being presented an adoption opportunity; if you begin your adoption journey and later find that you are more comfortable with certain situations than you originally thought, contact your Adoption Specialist (1-800-ADOPTION).