Adoptive parent(s) have many questions when they are considering adoption. One question that is almost always asked is: “How long will I have to wait?” or “What is the estimated placement time?”
This answer is really determined by the adoptive parent(s). As they complete their paperwork and questionnaire about what they are “open” to, adoptive parent(s) should have a good idea themselves about what their wait time will be. For instance, what ethnic backgrounds do you feel are right for your family? If they check “ALL,” they will definitely have more situations shown to them because they will consider any ethnic. The parent that selects just one or two ethnic backgrounds has narrowed down their pool of birthparents that can view their profile. Adoptive parent(s) who are open to either sex will have the opportunity to view many more than parents choose one or the other gender.
Another area which adoptive parent(s) should research is the use of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. When presented, most agencies ask adoptive parent(s) specifics in each category. For instance, a family could check “yes” to a box asking if they would accept a situation where there has been marijuana use, but “no” to a box for heroine. They could also specify yes to a certain type of alcohol consumption and no to other types. It is very common for birthparents to be users of tobacco. Checking no to smoking would also reduce the number of profiles shown to that adoptive parent(s).
Many adoptive parent(s) want the opportunity to view as many situations as possible and decide if they want their profile to be shown to the birthparent. Those adoptive parent(s) who are “open” to and willing to look at various ethnic backgrounds, either sex, some substance use, and other health and mental health issues, will have more situations presented to them than those who have more narrow parameters. In many cases, some mental health problems are not genetic but situational, and could have stemmed from physical, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect.
Sometimes adoptive parent(s) feel discouraged by seeing fewer situations than they expected. In many cases, this discouragement has led them to review what they have selected as their parameters. When couples “open up” a little more, that can make all the difference. Nowadays, there are very few people that are “Full” Caucasian, with no other ethnic on either parent’s side. There are many situations that can have 3 or more ethnicities identified, and some are only 1/8 or 1/4 of a certain ethnic. But, by saying that they will not accept that ethnic, adoptive parent(s) have taken themselves out of viewing that situation.
Only the adoptive parent(s) themselves know what is right for their family. They are the only ones that can determine what they are comfortable with. A good piece of advice is to become educated on substance abuse during pregnancy, learn the effects of smoking, and talk with pediatricians about how certain drugs can affect a fetus. Also take a good self-inventory about ethnic background. If the thought of adopting a child of a completely different race then yourself makes you uncomfortable, then seriously consider your choice. If you are open to loving a child of either sex then mark both sexes. The most important piece of advice is to be willing to keep an open mind. You never know when you are going to find that right situation where everything in your being says, “This is right!” Give yourself as many opportunities to experience that as possible. Keep your heart and mind in a compassionate and understanding place. Many birthparents are looking for understanding and compassionate families. An empathetic heart can help you through this process.