Often times, when beginning the adoption process, adoptive families worry about how they could possibly find a birth mother on their own. How will they know where to look? How will they know if the woman they find will be a good fit? How do they find a woman whose hopes for her child are in line with what they can provide?
At American Adoptions we can do all of the legwork for you. How, you ask? Well, we actually do this using a very simple set of questionnaires. Upon joining our agency, you will be asked to complete an Adoption Planning Questionnaire, or APQ, with the help of one of our adoptive family specialists.
What is the APQ?
The APQ is a simple set of questions that will help our agency, and you, determine the types of adoption situations that would be the best fit for your family. It covers topics like race, budget, and birth parent contact. Your answers to these questions will then be used to match you with an expectant mother who might be interested in your family.
Women whose desires for their child are in line with your APQ will be presented your Adoptive Family Profile as a possible option for them. Upon viewing your profile, should an expectant mother feel your family is the right choice for her child, she can move forward to an adoption opportunity with you.
How Does it Work?
Once your family is committed to moving forward with our agency, your adoptive family specialist will schedule a phone call with you to complete your APQ. On average, this call will last 45 minutes to an hour.
Your specialist will start off by introducing him/herself and asking you questions about your history and what led you to adoption. He or she will then move into questions regarding your preferences in an adoption situation. These topics are:
Depending on their circumstances, some families may be open to accepting children of one race and not another. Others may be open to all races. When determining preferred races, it is important that you are confident in your ability to address your child’s racial or cultural differences in a healthy way.
Setting a budget is often one of the most difficult tasks for families. Some families stretch their budgets to the max, but by no means should your adoption budget put your finances in a compromised position. That being said, many of our adoptive families actually receive refunds of remaining funds after placement.
Contact Arrangement with Birth Parents
At American Adoptions we ask our families to be accepting of at least a semi-open adoption as closed adoptions are becoming increasingly rare. From there, it is up to you how open you would like your adoption to be. The important thing is that you do not make promises you cannot keep. Oftentimes, we see families begin the adoption process with more of a semi-open adoption and gradually grow into an open adoption as they bond with their child’s birth parents.
Birth Mother Substance Usage
Many adoptive families fear the negative health effects that drug usage can have on an unborn child. While there are some possible side effects, it is important that you understand what those effects can be and how often they occur. Review our article on drug exposure and talk to a doctor who has experience in the area.
Birth Parent Medical History
Our biggest piece of advice with medical history is to take a look at your own familial history and at least be accepting of those situations. It is very unlikely that an expectant mother will have a perfect medical history, so be realistic in your decisions. Again, research the conditions and make yourselves aware of how they may affect your child (if at all).
This sections of the APQ addresses your willingness to accept multiples, sibling groups, special needs babies, and children who are a product of rape, as well as the maximum age of a child you are willing to accept. These answers are typically based on your personal preferences and your ability to properly care for these children.
When completing the APQ it is important that you are 100% confident in your ability to accept an adoption situation within these specifications. Keep in mind, should you change your mind down the road and want to open up your APQ or change your answers, all that is needed is a simple phone call to your specialist.
How Should We Prepare?
Before completing the APQ it is important that both you and your partner read the Preparing for a Successful Adoption manual. This will help you better understand how the APQ works and how each decision will affect your adoption.
Additionally, you should take the time to do any research on prenatal drug exposure or medical issues you may be unfamiliar with. And, most importantly, you should talk with your partner about your own preferences. Make sure you are both on the same page and know where your comfort level is. Comfort is absolutely key in finding the right adoption situation for you.