There are many people who are affected by adoption in Arizona. This article is intended to be an Arizona adoption guide to getting started. Expectant and birth mothers, hopeful and adoptive parents, and adoptees are all approaching personal adoption journeys with the goal of happiness and long-term familial strength in mind. Each member of the adoption triad can take specific steps to ensure that adoption in Arizona is approached, finalized, and reconciled most productively. There are several agencies, support groups, and resources available to birth mothers, adoptive parents, and adoptees alike. As each member aims to approach the adoption journey, each can find help and healing along the way.
Expectant Parents: Seeking to Place a Child for Adoption
Find an Agency.
An adoption agency is a great place for an expectant mother to begin her adoption journey. Once an expectant mother has made the decision to pursue adoption, an agency can begin working with her to make an adoption plan. Often, adoption agencies will even provide options counseling to help an expectant mother learn whether or not adoption is right for her at all. Throughout the pregnancy and post-adoption, an adoption agency can help to support the physical, mental, and emotional needs of an expectant mother. An agency can connect expectant mothers with potential adoptive parents, provide resources for legal support throughout the process, and provide a safe place for decision-making throughout the process. At a time that feels confusing, lonely, and frustrating, and an adoption agency can help expectant mothers throughout each of their adoption journeys.
Find Prenatal Care.
As an expectant mother, one of your first priorities after learning about your pregnancy should be to seek out medical care. Although your doctor’s visits will be less frequent in the beginning, it is important to set up a medical plan as soon as possible. Adoption agencies can be one resource for finding affordable insurance and medical care if you do not already have it. Sometimes, agencies are even equipped with the resources to help cover the costs of medical appointments for expectant mothers who are planning on placing a baby for adoption. Other birth mother expenses that are covered through an agency include housing, transportation, and counseling throughout the pregnancy.
Find a Family.
Choosing the parent or parents of your child is no easy task. The decision to place a child at all is life-changing; finding your child’s forever family is an entirely different experience. Unless an expectant mother is already in contact with the future adoptive family of her child, she will probably use parent profiles to find a match. A parent profile is a guide to hopeful adoptive parents. Adoption agencies and trusted online resources such as Adoption.com have large collections of parent profiles for expectant parents to consider. In these profiles, hopeful adoptive parents introduce themselves, their families, their interests and plans for the future, and sometimes even address an expectant mother directly. Many expectant mothers have found very personal connections to the child’s future parents when using parent profiles.
Find a Plan.
Once an agency has been found, medical care has been secured, and the search for an adoptive family has begun, an expectant mother who will then start to consider some of the details of her adoption plan. An adoption plan will highlight an expectant mother’s wants and needs for herself and her child’s future. Typically, this is the stage where an expectant mother will learn more about an open, semi-open, and closed adoption and what each of those plans would entail. The different types of adoption plans simply define the level of contact that will be maintained between the birth mother, adoptive family, and adoptee post-adoption. Adoption plans will also include planning for details regarding the birth, the birth mother’s plans post-adoption, and how contact will be initiated between each member of the adoption triad in the future.
Find a Support System.
At this stage of the process, most of the logistical and legal details of the adoption are set into motion. An even more important part of the process, though, is securing a support system for the expectant mother before, during, and after the adoption. Counseling, support groups, mentors, and online groups are all viable options for support in addition to that of an expectant mother’s circle of family and friends. Adoption is a tragic experience for a potential birth mother. She will experience every up and down there is throughout the process and will need to rely on trustworthy allies to thrive.
Hopeful Adoptive Parents: Seeking to Adopt
Find an Adoption Professional.
Hopeful adoptive parents in Arizona have plenty of adoption agencies and attorneys to choose from. The decision to work with an agency or attorney will depend on the circumstances of both the hopeful adoptive parents and the expectant mother at the time a professional is needed. Often, in cases where the two parties are already connected, an attorney will be sufficient to complete the adoption process. In other cases, where a match has not been made between expectant mothers and future adoptive parents, and adoption agency can aid in that process. Adoption agencies will help hopeful adoptive parents complete a home study, prepare for the legalities of adoption, and create a parent profile to join the pool of eligible parents who are ready to adopt.
Make a Financial Plan.
Adoption is not a cheap process. Agency fees, home study fees, travel, birth mother expenses, and even international travel expenses add up very, very quickly. Depending on whether adoption is domestic, international, through an agency, or private, adoption-related expenses for hopeful adoptive parents can range from $30,000-$60,000. A financial plan can help hopeful parents prepare for these expenses, fundraise when necessary, apply for grants, and access any kind of financial aid they can throughout the process. Hopeful adoptive parents should never let the expense of the adoption process deter them from continuing the process. There are plenty of resources to help any sincere hopeful adoptive parent afford adoption.
Create a Parent Profile.
One way that hopeful adoptive parents in Arizona can reach out to expectant mothers who are considering adoption is through parent profiles. As social media has become more and more popular, many hopeful adoptive parents use personal platforms to get the word out that the couple or individual is interested in adopting. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, and other platforms have been a great place to start for these individuals and couples. In addition to traditional social media outreach, agencies, and websites such as Adoption.com also have collections of parent profiles. These profiles, much like a traditional social media profile, share a picture, biography, and other information about the hopeful adoptive parents. There are many guides to creating a parent profile, as the introduction between a family and a potential birth mother, this will be an important place for hopeful adoptive parents to highlight the best qualities and explain why the family wants to adopt.
Complete a Home Study.
Before a hopeful adoptive couple can become eligible to adopt in Arizona, each must go complete a home study. A home study involves a social worker collecting information about the couple’s background, parenting plan, health and financial situation, and home environment. The home study process will include interviews, a home visit, and a written report of the social workers’ findings. There are various things that couples can do to prepare for a home study. An adoption agency will help couples be aware of what the couple can expect from the home study process and what each individual can do to ensure it goes smoothly.
Find a Support System.
The adoption process is hard on every member of the adoption triad. Some hopeful adoptive parents wait years before being chosen for placement. An already emotional journey is one that doesn’t end after nine months of pregnancy. It is an ongoing process of adjustment and patience. Because of this, hopeful adoptive and adoptive parents need a solid support system to help when things get hard. Before and after an adoption takes place, some parents might consider joining a support group through their agency, online support groups, or family counseling to help with the shift in the family dynamics.
Adult Adoptees: Seeking Reunion
Depending on the openness of adoption, when an adoptee becomes an adult, he or she may wish to begin the reunion process. Many adoptees choose to reunite to find closure, fulfill curiosities about roots, or even to discover medical and family history. Just as the adoption process can be long and grueling for hopeful adoptive parents before the adoption takes place, the reunion process can be just as time-consuming. The legal system, policies, and agencies change drastically over an 18-year period. This can make tracking down records complicated. In order to complete the process and have a successful reunion, adoptees, like the parents, should seek out support and help from family, friends, and, when necessary, adoption professionals.
Before beginning the reunion process, adoptees need to gather as much information about the birth, birth parents, and adoption as possible. Usually, these records are kept by adoptive parents, adoption attorneys, the court that the adoption was completed through, or the adoption agency. In a closed adoption, adoption parents will not have to identify information regarding the biological parents. In these cases, adoptees will need to approach the agency, court, a personal investigator, or other outside sources to begin the reunion process. These sources will require as much information about adoption as possible.
Find a Registry.
Adoption registries are another great source for a reunion. Most states have specific adoption registries where both birth parents and adoptees can add the name and identifying information. When a match is made, the host of the registry can connect both parties and assist in initiating a reunion. Registries are a cheaper, passive way to initiate contact between biological parents and adoptees but are only successful when both parties participate in the same registry. Adoption agencies and other adoption websites may also own registries for the reuniting of biological parents and adoptees. A registry is just one successful route to a reunion that adoptees can use in Arizona.
Initiate the Reunion.
Once a connection has been made between biological family members, there are different ways that communication may be initiated. If an adoptee has used a legal intermediary to locate a biological parent, the legal intermediary will also be the one to initiate contact either through a scheduled phone call, video chat, or in-person meeting. When an intermediary is not involved in the process, biological parents and adoptees need to approach communication with caution. If either party is uncomfortable with the reunion, the other must respect those wishes and respectfully retreat from the reunion process until further notice.
Prepare for Reunion.
When the reunion process is successful, an adoptee and birth parent can then prepare for an in-person reunion. Depending on the personal circumstances of each person, this reunion will look different for everyone. It is important for adoptees to approach reunion with an open mind and understanding that expectations may not be met. In the best-case scenario, an adoptee and biological parent can reconnect, answer one another’s questions, concerns, and curiosities, and plan for future communication. To prepare for anything less than the ideal, an adoptee should approach reunion understanding that she can only control her own reaction to the reunion and respect the decisions of her family members.
No matter where you live, adoption can be a bumpy road. If you live in Arizona and are considering or are already affected by adoption, don’t let the fear of running into roadblocks stop you from pursuing your adoption goals. Hopefully, this Arizona adoption guide adds clarity. Expectant and birth mothers have plenty of resources to help through pregnancy and finding a forever family for each child. Hopeful adoptive parents can find financial aid and assistance from adoption professionals in creating a parent profile. And lastly, adoptees can find closure and healing through the courts or adoption agencies in the journey toward reunion. Whatever your place is in the world of adoption in Arizona, there are answers and hope ahead.
Courtney Falk was adopted at 3 days old. Growing up in a home where adoption was discussed openly, she always had a passion for sharing her story. When she was 18, she reunited with both of her birth parents and continues to have a positive relationship with each of their families. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in professional writing. Since then, she’s had the opportunity to create and edit content in areas such as fitness, health and wellness, financing, and adoption. When she isn’t behind a book, you can find her dancing in the living room with her 11 nieces, attempting to cook, and tending to her extensive collection of house plants.