I also want to start off by saying that this is OUR story, experience and opinions, every one's is different and there are no two stories alike! You should also know that we chose to adopt domestically (meaning in the states) and International or Foster Care adoption is a completely different ball game.
So lets get started. (There were a few duplicate questions so I paraphrased a few of them)
What agency did you go through?
We went through Bethany Christian Services...they have an office close by and we were very pleased with them as an agency and what they do to bring awareness to adoption.
Do you have a closed or open adoption?
We have an open adoption with Grayden's birth mother and a semi-open adoption with his birth father (meaning we have never met each other (his choice), but know a lot about each other and have seen pictures, etc)
Why did you choose to go the route you did?
We chose to have an open adoption for many reasons, we wanted Grayden to know his birth family and never want to hide any details from him. We wanted to be able to share with him how much his birth family loved him enough to choose life and adoption for him!
Our agency strongly encourages open adoption as well.
It has allowed us to better know the birth family and connect with them easier.
From the beginning to the end how much money was adopting your little boy?
We are choosing not to give you an exact figure on how much our adoption cost mainly because every agency and situation is different in terms of cost. And to be honest I am not really sure what is has all added up to be.
Domestic is more affordable than International in most cases but more expensive that foster to adopt programs. Our agency based its fees on the adoptive couples yearly income. It is expensive, but we'd pay any amount of money for our little blessing. I will say that it was between the $15-25,000 range.
Will you adopt again in the future?
I hope so! We are waiting and praying for the right timing of it all.
I have always heard that adoption is so expensive! Is it very expensive?
Yes, but I want to say again it was worth every penny and more.
My husband and I may adopt and would like to know if there are any programs out there that help pay for the process?
YES! There are numerous grants available to help people with some of the adoption costs, as well as loan programs and a Federal Adoption Tax Credit and in some states a State Adoption Tax Credit.
How did your adoption go through so quick (start to finish)? I've heard stories of couples who go through the process only to be agonized by the wait, which some say can take years...?
It did go quick, we started our home study in November of 2008, went active with the agency (meaning our profile could be shown to expectant mothers) on Dec 23, 2008 and we were matched on March 5 2009.
How did it go so quick? Lots of prayers! The wait can be agonizing, it was really hard to leave it in God's hands and have faith that His timing would be perfect but we did our best and are so thankful our adoption did go so fast!
What is the thing that surprised you he most about adopting?
There were lots of things that surprised me, but what surprised me the most is how much I would love a baby that I didn't carry in my belly for 9 month and give birth too and who wouldn't share my DNA. I knew I would love any baby God blessed us with but never did I expect just how much I love him! And how none of that stuff matters anymore AT ALL. I love Grayden more than words can express.
Did you ever consider adopting from another country besides the states?
Not really. We don't qualify to adopt from many other countries at this point so we just went right to domestic.
Was it a very invasive process? One of my daughter's classmates was adopted from China, and her mom said they had to fill out approx 20pages of info about themselves.
Yes, paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. The home study consisted of a 35 question self study for both Robb and I to answer, fingerprinting, physicals, individual interviews, compined interview, a home inspection, and friends referrals.
Was Grayden born in Michigan or did you need to travel to another state?
Yes he was born in Michigan
Did his birth mother choose you, or did the agency?
His birth mother chose us. She saw our profile online and then requested to see our profile book we made along with a few other couples. She decided she wanted us to be the parents in her 7th month of pregnancy.
My husband and I have just started looking into adoption to expand our family.....any advice for me?
Hmm, my advice is DO IT :) And guard your heart, it really is an emotional process full of ups and downs. I say to people all the time that "adoption is not for the faint of heart." You have to be strong!
What arrangements to you have with the birth mom as far as contact?
We email her with pictures quite often, once or twice a week. And so far have had 3 visits with her since he's been born and another one in the planning stages for next weekend.
How involved were you with her before he was born?
We emailed a few times a week and she'd let us know how she was doing and how her appointments were going, we discussed names and really just spent those couple months getting to know each other better.
Did you bring Grayden home from the hospital or did he have to go to foster care for a while?
Yes, we brought him right home from the hospital.
How often do you get told that Grayden looks like Robb? (Because right now, at least, he totally does! I think their resemblance is so special :))
A lot!! I personally don't see the resemblance (other than the fact that they're both super handsome) but we do hear it a lot. No matter who he looks like we think he's a perfect fit for our family!
Yes, I updated it a lot while we were going through the adoption process just to keep track of things that were happening and where we were in the process but I don't update it much anymore. I had been writing all his monthly posts over there but you may have noticed I have been switching them to this blog. Currently I only post over there when we have visits with his birth mom. I have chosen to keep it private, for the privacy of his birth family.
What are your plans for telling Grayden about his adoption?