We’ve not shared our story publicly up to this point but now that the cat is out of the bag so to speak, I am going to share the process here, with names and numbers. I’ve journaled sporadically but have at least kept track of the important stuff. Some of this is pretty close to my heart and I ask that you, the reader, handle my feelings with care and gentleness. Everyone comes to adoption differently. This is our path.
The next step that we took was rather shocking for us. It set us back on our heels a bit, making us question our decision to adopt. We had some inner wrangling to do before we could continue on.
June 20, 2011
We set up a Skype call with Teri Miller which was video. I think that was a bad think as A and I were unable to look at each other with wide shocked eyes to tone down the stress that we were feeling about the information that we were receiving. Teri sent us a recap of the conversation that I will copy here:
Dear Alan and KC;
It was a truly a pleasure speaking with you both this evening. I’d like to recap our conversation and help compare the level of service we provide with what an agency can do. As a Professional Law Corporation, you are our client, whereas an agency typically represents the birthmother. We protect your interests and provide full disclosure of all the information we have so you can make the best, most informed decisions during your adoption journey.
We will market and advertise you on 4 websites and U tube videos that attract about 500 birthmothers per month. Many agencies have you do your own marketing that is limited within your state, which can mean longer wait times (even years) to be selected by a birthmother. Our extensive outreach helps reduce the wait time for couples to be selected; this marketing investment is a one-time fee of $12,800.
As a law center, we document everything. Our attorneys personally review every file from the beginning to the end of your journey. The work that is done to ensure the accuracy and integrity of your file is covered by an administrative fee of $2,000.
These two amounts total your Phase I investment to retain our services which is $14,800.
Once you are on board, we’ll refer you to a local agency in your area to complete the home study. Home studies usually run $2,800 in your state and you will pay them directly.
Your second investment is the Adoption Service Fee, or Phase II, which is due when you have accepted a birthmother opportunity. This investment includes the extensive screening of the birthmother & birthfather and the around-the-clock counseling we offer the birthmother, helping to lay the foundation for a successful adoption journey. The Adoption Services Fee that is paid once you have been successfully matched is $9,800.
In contrast, many agencies are non-profit organizations and lack resources to screen their birthmothers, giving very little information on the medical history of the birthparents and any potential risk factors for your baby.
The legal fees for finalization of your adoption range from $6,000 – $12,000 and will vary depending on the compatibility of the laws between the states and circumstances of your adoption. We’ll provide a close estimate of these fees when presenting your adoption opportunity. Also, the level of birthmother support you indicated on your Confidential Adoption Questionnaire is matched with the needs of the birthmother we present. The national average last year was $5,000 for the entire pregnancy.
Attached you will find the Legal Services Agreement, the Immigration Addendum, the Financing Application and an additional copy of the Confidential Adoption Questionnaire. We will discuss any questions that you have during our next consultation. I will wait for your call this week to schedule it.
In the meantime, thank you for considering Adoption Network Law Center for your adoption journey and please feel free to contact me with any questions or assistance I can provide for you. I truly look forward to helping make this dream of adding a baby to your family come true.
The first step is the hardest. I look forward to taking many steps towards success on your adoption journey.
What we really came to understand after this call was that this is a Business (with a capital B), the adoptive parents are a paycheck and the birth mother’s are the path to that paycheck. With A having been adopted himself it was hard to see this part of the process. It is our hope that adoption in Canada is very different. I must point out at this point that the costs laid out in the above email do not reflect all of the possible/probable costs associated with a domestic adoption in the US.
Another difficulty that we came across in this call was how Teri kept saying something along the lines of, “Let’s bring your baby home” or “Let’s get your baby in your arms”, like pulling that card was going to ‘close’ the sale.
After we got off the Skype call A and I went for a walk along the cliff and listened to the ocean and stomped out our frustration. We were so shocked with the numbers and the hard sell that we didn’t really know what to do. It hurt that we were going to have to wade these muddy waters if we wanted to become parents in this way.
During this call we also covered topics such as what we would be open to as far as the race of the child, correctable vs non-correctable medical conditions, genetic conditions found before or after the delivery, what an open adoption could possibly look like (ie: contact: email, phone calls, pictures, visits or no visits), how much information we will get about the potential birth parents, what kind of birthmother expenses that we could be responsible for and a breakdown of the different types of adoption professionals.
The breakdown of the adoption professionals as described by Teri Miller is as follows:
Agency: Regulated by the state, typically work for the birthmothers, they accept all birthmothers
Facilitator: A broker who will talk to us and then shop around for us. Usually must do our own marketing.
Law Center: Must follows state laws or can lose license to practice. Tend to hand hold both adoptive parents as well as birthparents and give one-on-one attention. Can choose who they work with and will turn away both birthparents or adoptive parents. Only do newborn adoptions. They do all of the marketing.
Adoption Attorney: Rarely do adoptive/birth parent matching. If they do matching, they have longer waits. Tend to only do the law side of adoptions/
I took a day or two after this call to gather my bearings again before diving in again for more information as to hard we were going to take this next step. We definitely continued slightly more guardedly.
To be continued…