We all make mistakes. Some are minor, others are glaring. We don’t want to repeat those. Sometimes we do anyway.
Likewise, once in a while, the grace of God smiles on a situation and we seem to get things right. We land the right job, we meet the right person, we get into the intense conversation and we have the right words to say in the moment, not on the bus on the way home.
As we celebrated our twins’ third birthday today, I thought about what we got right during our adoptions.
In looking back at adopting three infant girls in less than two years, there aren’t many things I’d change – if any. Oh, I might ask a birth mother a few more questions to satisfy my curiosity, but beyond that, we managed to do several things that I now tell every couple to do:
1) We went big. Once we decided to adopt, we went public. We blogged about it. We talked about it. We told our friends. It would have been easier (at first) to keep our plans quiet, but every time we told our story we got a little more brave, a little more committed, a little more convinced that it was game on.
2) We raised money. I meet people all the time with too little understanding or too much pride to consider raising funds. Most of them never adopt. Ever. Additionally, they fail to allow their friends to participate in something bigger than themselves. The friends, neighbors and strangers who contributed to our girls’ adoption wer offered an opportunity to do something with the kingdom in mind and years later, no one has asked for their money back. More info in the footnotes of this post.
3) We contracted with a consultant. There are a dozen ways to adopt domestically. The smart way – and often the quicker way – is to utilize a good adoption consultant who will walk you through the process. Never confuse a consultant with a facilitator. The first is more like a coach and is legal in all fifty states. The second is contracted to ‘find a baby’ and encouraged to cut corners to make it work.
A good consultant will help walk you through your home study, coach you on how to talk to birth moms, explain all those crazy forms, answer your wide eyed questions in a timely fashion, and tell you when a situation seems iffy. They’ll help you network with multiple agencies and give your portfolio exposure to far more potential adoption situations. When you’re matched, they’re there to answer questions and give you the information that an agency may not want to. They’ll take your phone call at your most freaked out moment and talk you down off the ledge.
When we were ready to leave the hospital with Zoe, the nurses suddenly told us we couldn’t take her. Zoe had to stay there because the Las Vegas Police Department had placed a hold on her. I was stunned – what could she possibly have done? She was four days old! They told us that apparently her birth mother had some outstanding warrants, and the police would place a hold on her baby assuming she was coming back to see her…but she wasn’t.
The nurse suggested I call the police and work it out. I wasn’t even sure what was happening, let alone able to negotiate with the police for my daughter. I called our consultant and asked her what I’d asked her ten times during the process. “Amy, what do I do?”
She said “Let me call.” Ten minutes later, she had secured approval for us to leave with Zoe. I would not have been in a frame of mind to walk that out with the police, but she was.
Using a consultant helped us go from zero money, zero paperwork filled out on June 1 2006 to Zoe in our arms the first weekend of October of the same year. I believe in using a consultant.
When we started Hannah’s Dream, we knew that we wanted to do consulting as well. Not every case goes as quickly as ours did – but some have gone faster. And all of our cases have prepared the couples to adopt in a far more educated and protected fashion than they would have had they simply found an agency and signed on the line.
If you’re interested in utilizing a consultant, go to HannahsDream.com and click on the tab for consulting services, then shoot us an email so we can talk. We want to help.
Regarding money and raising funds, check out this past article entitled What About the Money. Also, listen to this archived podcast as I talk about the why and how of raising funds.