Have you reviewed your APQ lately?
That question may seem odd if you finished your APQ months ago. But, now, it’s more common for hopeful adoptive families to revisit their APQ every three to six months.
“Often, many times families want to start more limited or with what they think is ‘ideal’ and ‘see how it goes.’ The idea being that they would prefer this, but if it doesn’t happen, then they’ll open up,” Melanie Leal, LMSW, LCPAA, an adoptive family specialist at American Adoptions, explains. “But they really are just limiting their opportunities if they are planning to open up anyway.”
American Adoptions’ adoptive family specialists recommend that prospective adoptive families regularly revisit their APQ to determine if their initial answers reflect their current feelings. Time reveals if prospective adoptive parents’ initial reservations about potential adoption opportunities are still concerns. Because when you’re 100% comfortable with your APQ, you are set up to have a successful adoption.
The Initial APQ Call
If you’ve yet to complete your APQ, that’s okay! The process is simple but requires hopeful adoptive parents to determine their ideal adoption scenario. (If you want to discuss the APQ’s details, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION today to talk to an adoption specialist.)
One of the initial steps in the adoption process is the APQ call.
This 45 to 60-minute call is with your adoption specialist. Early in the call, your adoption specialist will introduce themselves and explain their role in your adoption. Your adoption professional will continue the call by asking you:
- Questions about your history
- Questions about what led you to adoption
- Questions specific to the APQ
The APQ questions help determine your preferences in an adoption situation. You can prepare for the APQ by considering the following APQ topics:
Hopeful adoptive parents must determine if they are comfortable raising a child from a different racial or cultural background.
To become a loving parent to a baby from a different cultural background, you must prepare to handle any potential racial or cultural differences in a healthy, informed way.
Hopeful adoptive families must be honest about what they can and cannot afford. Although you may want to put all your savings into your adoption, this process should never compromise your finances. Your adoption specialist can help you determine the amount of money you can place in your adoption fund.
Contact Arrangement with Birth Parents
American Adoptions always recommends that hopeful adoptive families keep their adoption semi-open. A semi-open adoption allows for some degree of contact between you and the prospective birth mother. The adoption specialist mediates all communication. All parties involved in the adoption process tend to benefit when adoption is at least semi-open.
When making your contact arrangement, it’s important for you to consider the level of openness you are comfortable with. You should never promise more contact than you think you can handle.
Birth Mother Substance Usage
Hopeful adoptive families often worry that if the prospective birth mother has used substances during pregnancy, her baby may experience health consequences. Consider this potential scenario and take time to talk to your doctor about how often babies are affected by possible substance use during pregnancy. This article on drug exposure may help you start the conversation with your physician.
Birth Parent Medical History
It’s not uncommon for hopeful adoptive parents to get nervous about the possible health conditions in prospective birth parents’ medical history.
Although you’re the only one who can determine the potential medical ailments you can handle, it’s important to recognize no one has a perfect medical history.
Try to compare your family’s medical history with the prospective birth mother’s when filling out your APQ. This strategy may help you narrow down the possible medical conditions you would feel comfortable addressing.
Hopeful adoptive parents also will need to consider their comfort level with other potential adoption opportunity scenarios, including:
- Sibling groups
- Special needs babies
- Children who are the product of rape
- Maximum age of children you’re willing to adopt
The Importance of Reviewing Your APQ
Although you’ve spent a lot of time considering the potential adoption scenarios you’re comfortable taking on, it’s important to note everyone’s opinions evolve.
That’s the reason why American Adoptions’ adoption specialists recommend that hopeful adoptive families review their APQ every three to six months.
Regularly updating your adoption APQ opens you to more adoption opportunities. It’s important to never agree to an adoption opportunity you’re uncomfortable with. But, it’s not uncommon for hopeful adoptive families to discover they are more flexible when it comes to real adoption scenarios.
Real Opportunities are Easier to Consider Than Hypothetical Opportunities
It’s easier to consider an actual situation than a possible situation. For example, an adoption opportunity may present itself that is slightly out of your budget range. At the beginning of the adoption process, you may have thought you didn’t have that extra $1,000 to put toward the adoption, but now, six months later, that extra $1,000 may not seem like that much of a budget increase.
It’s also important to note that real adoption opportunities have generally decreased during the pandemic. Any hopeful adoptive family that works with American Adoptions is given this information early in the adoption process to encourage an open APQ.
“Before, families just chose what they felt comfortable with, and often times a match eventually came along,” Melanie explains. “But, with birth rate declining, that isn’t necessarily the case now.”
Preferences Evolve Over Time
At the beginning of the adoption process, you may think the best path toward parenthood is a cautious one. That’s understandable. However, as time goes on and you and your partner continue to discuss how potential adoption opportunities could play out, you may find that you begin to view potential adoption issues as situations you both can overcome together.
The following are a few APQ areas that Melanie often sees hopeful adoptive parents “open up” to over time.
This is usually the most flexible APQ preference because it’s a consideration that doesn’t affect the baby.
If a hopeful adoptive family is experiencing a longer wait, they often have more time to educate themselves about the positive aspects of yearly visits. Melanie adds that this is another APQ preference that doesn’t involve the baby’s health, so it tends to be more flexible.
Sometimes, hopeful adoptive families open up their racial preference. But, making this change takes a lot of thought and education.
“It’s hard because you don’t want families opening in race just to adopt,” Melanie said. “The hard stuff with transracial adoption will come out when the child is older. They need to be all in and prepared to seek resources, seek connections, etc. But, it’s an area families often grow in during the wait as they educate themselves more and seek those connections.”
Melanie adds that sometimes, hopeful adoptive families open up to prospective birth mother marijuana use. Still, most hopeful adoptive families continue to indicate they are unequipped to raise a child who may have been exposed to heavier types of drugs.
Revisiting your APQ questionnaire every three to six months allows adoptive parents to remain open to new adoption opportunities. Many hopeful adoptive families benefit from semi-regularly reviewing their adoption APQs because:
- Real adoption opportunities are easier to consider than hypothetical opportunities
- Adoption opportunity concerns evolve – and often lessen – over time
- Flexibility opens hopeful adoptive families to more adoption opportunities
When you and your partner regularly reconsider your APQ answers, your adoption specialist can better connect your family with a prospective birth mother.