Adoption List Now?
April 30, 2012 7:46 PM   Subscribe

Get on an adoption list?

I am 33, divorced and dating a 24 year old. Things are going well with me and my bf, but he is not ready to be a father (He's only 24!) My clock is ticking! Before I met him a year and a half ago I was going to start the process of adoption. For a single white woman the wait for a baby is about 4 years. I am optimistic that things will go well with the bf, but I don't know that I want to start the process in a few years only to be 40 with an infant. I have told him I have considered starting the process with a luke warm response from him. Here's the kicker, I've got an evil ovary so I may not be able to get pregnant. Opinions? Advice?
posted by jmd97 to Human Relations (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There are about a billion points along the path to adoption where you could find yourself rejected, or change your mind, and about 999,999,995 of them come before you get a baby. So start the process. If your boyfriend mans up and wants to raise a family with you, you can stop the process (or keep going with an amended application if your fertility is an issue). And if he doesn't, you have wasted years finding that out.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:15 PM on April 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

what happens if you get on the list, but then later you want to back out? there are probably no down sides, other than maybe being out some money, right?

go on the list, and carefully explain to your boy friend that it will take at least four years before you have the possibility to actually adopt any children. if he runs you'll know it would have never worked. if he stays you should be able to know if you want to be with him in the long term before you get a kid.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:16 PM on April 30, 2012

Adoption is tricky. The average wait may be four years, but that means some folks will bring home a baby a month after finishing their application, and some other folks will still be waiting six years later. It's really unpredictable--in some ways, as unpredictable as trying to get pregnant.

Also, the older you get the harder it may be to find an agency to work with you. When we were researching adoption, some agencies had cut-offs of 35 years, for instance (this was for white newborns--guidelines tend to be more flexible if you are also more flexible about the baby you adopt).

On preview, the short version is exactly what jacquilynne said--it's a long process just to find an agency to work with, do your background stuff and educational classes, finish your home study. It makes sense to start the process, get as much of that done as you can. There are many points along the way for further decision-making. Starting the process keeps your options open; if you wait to start it, doors may close that can't be opened again.
posted by not that girl at 8:18 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you want to adopt as a single parent, you should go ahead and start the process. This may end your relationship; not everyone (and especially not every 24 year old) wants to date a single mother.

If you want to adopt jointly, I'd wait until you're in a more stable, long-term relationship with enthusiasm coming from the adoptive father as well.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:44 PM on April 30, 2012

The average wait may be four years, but that means some folks will bring home a baby a month after finishing their application, and some other folks will still be waiting six years later.

While that's true (my parents were told a probable four year waiting time, and got me two weeks after finishing the paperwork), there is no reason you couldn't say no in the unlikely case that you are offered a baby unexpectedly soon. They'll just move down the list to another potential parent - it's not like there aren't a million other suitable people waiting.

So I nth that you should start the process now, and emphasise to your boyfriend that this is just about keeping your options open for a few years time.
posted by lollusc at 9:19 PM on April 30, 2012

Just FYI, most home studies expire in 12 months, and sometimes getting a home study updated can cost a sizable fee like $1000.

USCIS expires in 15 months, costs somewhere around $800 for the initial approval to be processed and then can be renewed once with no fee, each subsequent renewal requires a fee

You also need a physical exam and I'm uncertain as to when that expires, perhaps someone else can comment.

Anyway this doesn't have a direct bearing on the situation with your boyfriend, although I thought it might be relevant information for you.

Regarding the boyfriend, I think you've got to go ahead and do what you need to do for yourself. Have you considered the fact that most people are able to get pregnant normally even if they only have one functioning ovary? (see this recent question for more details) Insemination with donor sperm could be a lot cheaper and faster than adoption. Maybe you're not interested in actually being pregnant or have other reasons for wanting to adopt, but don't assume that you are infertile without getting an opinion from a reproductive endocrinologist.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:50 PM on April 30, 2012

Just FYI, most home studies expire in 12 months

This is not true in Ontario. A homestudy stays with you for life, only needing an update in the case of a "major life change" (i.e. marriage, moving to a new house, having a biological child, etc.).

This just goes to highlight how tremendously useful answers will vary depending on your jurisdiction.

So, where are you?
posted by 256 at 11:03 PM on April 30, 2012

Not sure whether this is also true where you live, but in Australia it's a hell of a lot easier to become a trained and registered foster carer than it is to become an adoptive parent. If you're looking for a way to raise children that doesn't involve making one, fostering is definitely an option you should look into.
posted by flabdablet at 5:37 AM on May 1, 2012

Home studies vary from state to state. Check your location's laws. In VA, I only have to have my home study renewed every 3 years. It used to be every 2 years but they changed it about 2 years ago.
posted by onhazier at 6:13 AM on May 1, 2012

The waiting period varies wildly, based on your location and how good the agency is that you are working with. For instance, the agency my wife works for boasts a far lower average wait time than four years. They average about 18 months right now, I think. The agency requires, though, that you are open to adopting hispanic, black, or biracial babies, and not just hold out for a perfect white baby. The ones waiting for a white baby are the ones with the longest wait time. That's just a fact of life when it comes to the available pool of birth mothers. The agency only does domestic adoption.

There is no "waiting list" per-se. The wait time is dependent on various factors. The biggest determinant is, however, just how attractive you are to the birth mother. In the case of my wife's agency, the process is that potential couples (and single women such as yourself) sign-on. Birth mothers are then given biographies of potential couples based on the birth mother's wishes and preferences. The birth mother chooses a couple to complete the adoption with.

Obviously, with this process, quite a bit of basic human emotion and bias comes into play. Typically, couples that are older, obese, physically unattractive, etc. tend to have longer waits before being chosen by a birth mother. Single women also have a longer wait than do young couples. Birth mothers simply prefer the supposed stability of a married couple.

I believe the home studies my wife's agency does are valid for up to 2 years. I can check with her later. This is Indiana. YMMV. I will say that, when they do a homestudy, your BF's attitude and the general stability of the relationship will be noted.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:24 AM on May 1, 2012

in Australia it's a hell of a lot easier to become a trained and registered foster carer than it is to become an adoptive parent.

The same is true in the US. Foster-to-adopt can be a bumpy path, but it's definitely faster and a hell of a lot cheaper since the state pays for most/all of it.
posted by desjardins at 6:54 AM on May 1, 2012

I became a father through adoption at the age of 47. Now that my girls are teenagers everyone thinks I'm younger than I am simply because my children are young. A nice plus.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 9:40 AM on May 1, 2012

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