Not Pushing My Agenda, But…..

What is it? What does it look like? How much does it cost? Is it hard? Did you need an attorney? Do I have to adopt from Ethiopia?  Can I pick what I want? Didn’t you want to have your own baby? Why didn’t you work with the state? I want to adopt, too. What do you think?  Adoption Image

These are just a few of the questions I heard once folks knew that I planned to adopt. It was obvious that most black folks, specifically black women, were as in the dark as me regarding private adoption. When I began thinking about adoption I initially thought I would work through the state of Georgia to complete the process. I had previous experience with adoption and foster care as a child protective services worker and felt I knew the ins and outs. It made sense to follow this route. I signed on with an agency with a focus on connecting potential black adoptive and foster parents with black children who were in need of a temporary or permanent home. Unfortunately, the agency lost its state funding and had to close its doors. imagesI then connected with a second agency. Discussion with them yielded some interesting information. During the process you complete a gazillion forms. One of those forms is a checklist. You specify what characteristics you do and don’t want in an adoptive child. It sounds cold, but it forces you to be honest about your own limitations regarding what you can offer a child. The ultimate goal is a successful placement. After completing all the documents you are assigned a case worker. That person will further refine your responses or ask clarifying questions to get at what you’re looking for from the process and the addition to your family. The case worker and I chatted a couple of times and then a couple more times. I wanted to adopt a child who was between the ages of three and six, was not a part of a sibling group and was either black or had one parent who was black. The case worker said to me “…it’s a myth.” I asked …”what’s a myth.” She responded by explaining the reported media hype that there are all these black children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted. Huh? I thought this would be easy. Nope. She told me that unless I was willing to adopt an older child or a sibling group I’d be waiting a time for what I wanted. She then asked had I considered private adoption or a new-born? Record scratch!  downloadNewborn! Uh, uh……diapers, sleepless nights, someone that can’t tell you what’s wrong. I admit I wanted to skip all that stuff. I wanted to get right to what I considered the good part – get passed the hard work. Turns out I was wrong. It’s all the good part. I would not have wanted to miss one single second of this little boy’s life.  THIS moment right now, right here is the sweetest…and the next moment will be the sweetest, too.  To think I almost missed out on this little life because I was dead set on having exactly what I wanted. I am immensely thankful for whatever alignment of the Universe occurred to move my spirit in this direction. The most important piece of advice I can offer to future adoptive parents is that you remain open to what the process brings, be flexible, be patient and be willing to consider a family situation that you had not before.

So, that is how I got to private adoption. My stream of consciousness glossed over the process for public/state sponsored adoption. I am certain there are those of you who will make that choice once you’ve done your own research. To get you started check out The Division of Family and Children’s Services for important links to adoption information and resources in Georgia. You’ll want to get very familiar with these names, acronyms, etc.

My next post will focus on my specific experience with the private adoption process.

In the meantime here are some pics of Julien and I 15 months post adoption.

Blueberry Picking Fireworks Going to Meeting Nursery Pick-Up Theater for the Very Young

Yes, Black Women Adopt

I am a proud adoptive black mother. Some of you may be wondering why it is that I’ve highlighted the fact that I’m black. I have for a few reasons. First, there is this belief that black women don’t adopt – especially not single black women. Second, there is a lack of adoption information that places black women at its center. Third, there are some elements of the adoption process that I think are unique to women of color that other women may not experience.

Over the years I had talked about adopting, but I thought about it more than anything else. It took five maybe six years before I actually stopped talking and acted. When I turned 47 it occurred to me that I would still be having the same conversation with myself at age 50. I didn’t want to become a mother at 50, but knew I wanted to be a mother. So, I started the process toward becoming an adoptive mother. I had no idea……..

Once it became known that I planned to adopt and was in the midst of the process other women started asking questions, but were skeptical. The idea of me adopting was an I’ll believe it when I see it kind of thing…sort of like those people who share their plans for moving to Atlanta, but 15 years later still live in Ohio. Now that I’ve been seen  with the baby I have been bombarded with questions and comments – how long did it take; how much did it cost; I’d love to hear your story; what about a man, aren’t you a little old, etc.. For the most part folks have been pretty respectful and considerate.

This isn’t my first stab at blogging. My previous blog outlined my intent to get married in 18 months. I’m still single, but I learned a lot. I have been encouraged by more than one person to give blogging another shot so that I can document not only the process of adoption, but my observations, thoughts, feelings and growing pains that have sprung from this experience. Perhaps someone will find it useful or even entertaining. I don’t promise to blog daily, but I do intend to blog weekly. I am open and willing to respond to questions that you may have about adopting in general and specifically about my experience as a single black woman. I’ll also be sharing my observations as a single black adoptive mother. I will tell you that it is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard, but sooooo worth it.