Unless you are close to someone who has adopted, chances are you haven’t heard some of the frustrations that can go on behind the scenes, the dead ends that can be hit, or the ugly details that you’d never otherwise know.
Coming back to our situation with the international birth mother…
The more we learned about her scenario and learned from our agency about how this all might play out, the more bleak the prospect of moving forward and succeeding with this placement began to look.
One of our agency’s biggest concerns for us is that when they’ve spoken with international birth mothers in the past, they are almost always looking for a free ticket to the U.S. The agency will often vet these women by asking them to get themselves to the States as a way of showing their commitment to the process. In the overwhelming majority of cases, they never hear from the women again.
Even though this situation is a little different (being a known match), we still feel at higher risk for an unsuccessful placement.
Our agency does organic matches between birth mothers and adoptive parents based on mutually desired criteria. A birth mom is presented with many potential adoptive families, and she specifically chooses the family she wants to raise her child. One concern with this foreign birth mother is that she did not specifically choose us. We feared she would most likely just see us as a solution to her problem, not the family chosen of her own free will.
This would also lower the likelihood of an ongoing relationship with her, which we want to have if at all possible. We have a wonderful open relationship with our son’s birth parents, and we want to protect for that possibility as much as we can with this next child.
There’s the issue of finding housing. We would need to find the birth mom a place to stay, whether it be a rented room or extended stay hotel, which would quickly become expensive.
Plus, we’d be concerned about her emotional well-being in that scenario. What would she do with herself all day, every day? She’d have the weight of figuring out what happens after the baby comes and her free housing ends. She would undoubtedly be stressed, which means the baby would be exposed to high levels of stress hormones.
As it turns out, the foreign country’s laws would figure into things too. An attorney at our agency would have to study up on that country’s law. Then they’d have to find a person or service in-country to handle some paperwork and make every attempt to find and serve the birth father with documents to sign relinquishing his parental rights.
Here’s why this last necessity is one of the most frustrating pieces to me by far in this whole scenario: When this birth mother told the father that she was pregnant, he wanted her to have an abortion. She said no, so he dumped her. Oh, and he stole all the money from her bank account.
And now we have to track this guy down and get his consent to an adoption? What’s to stop him from wanting to get something out of this for himself, whether it be money or his own ticket to the U.S.?
It’s taken solely on the birth mother’s word who the father is. That’s the name that goes on the original birth certificate – whether the guy has agreed to it or not, whether paternity has been proven or not.
That’s crazy enough right there.
Yet when it comes to terminating the father’s parental rights, they won’t take a birth mother’s word that a guy wants nothing to do with their child. Suddenly we need to get his blessing?
Had this woman decided she wanted to keep this baby, no one would ever track this father down and require him to participate in the child’s existence in any way. So why in the world do we need to track this guy down to get his consent to the adoption?
That fact rather infuriates me.
We definitely feel for this young woman in her situation and wish we could help. At the end of the day, we also feel that we need to balance the stability and well-being of the birth mother and child along with the risks of any given scenario.
Taking all this into consideration, Jeff and I decided that this situation is not the right fit for us.
Nothing is guaranteed in any scenario, but we want a process that is a little more predictable. So now…
…back to square one.