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Author Topic: Can anyone help with some information?  (Read 6545 times)

wewait

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Can anyone help with some information?
« on: August 10, 2008, 10:53:36 AM »

Hello

Sort of new here ... & it's my first time posting.

Yesterday a situation of a birthmum wanting a private adoption was brought to our attention. (We're LID 11/06 China). We are the only prospective parents at this point and basically, a friend of a friend has come to us. The young woman has just recently made her decision and she is due in November.

We only recently relocated home to Canada and this has come to us as a huge surprise. We're hesitant, nervous and somewhat curious about the prospect of becoming parents (1st time) possibly so quickly and so differently than we have always assumed we would - through IA. We have more questions than anything else and we're hoping that someone on this Board might reply if they have any experience or knowledge of how PA works in Ontario. To this point, Private Adoption has not been an option for us and we know absolutely nothing about it.

Here are our questions:

1. How/will a private adoption affect our China adoption?

2. What's the process? We don't have an adoption lawyer yet (haven't needed one).

2a. How do we even begin ... at this point, it's been a discussion with us and a discussion with birth mum & grandmother by the 'facilitator/friend'?

3. What are the rights of the birth mum / father (who we've been told doesn't want anything to do with the situation)? extended birth family (who have already been asked if they want child but no one is able to take baby at this point)?

4. How long does it take to finalize a private adoption? (I suppose we're worried about birth mum changing her mind ...)

5. And then, we'd like an open adoption. How do we begin to talk about this with birth mum?

If anyone has anything to say about any of these questions we'd really appreciate hearing from you.

thanks so, so much. It feels like our world has been tipped on its head and we just are not sure what to even do next.  <help>





 

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Windthrow

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Re: Can anyone help with some information?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2008, 05:21:59 PM »

We went through this exact situation....later tonight I will give you some detailed answers to your questions after my daughter is in bed.

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beenthereonce

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Re: Can anyone help with some information?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2008, 06:04:12 PM »

We are in the same situation right now and it basically happened the same way.  Baby is due in Sept.  We are in B.C.,  birth mom is in another province (not Ontario) and we are LID for #2 from China April '07.  Our agency said that it would be no problem as they felt that we would have the baby home at least a year (or 5!) before our referral from China would come.  In our situation we deal with the same agency as we are with and only need to do an update to our homestudy.  We need to pay for all legal fees to complete the adoption and counselling for the birthmom.

Our birth mom was very adament that she was going to place this baby all away along until a couple of weeks ago.  Now we are in limbo as we don't know how things will work out.  Our social worker says that this typically happens at this stage of the preg. when the birth mom bonds more with the baby (and I can understand completely).  Our agency has suggested we hold off everything until the birth of the baby (except the counselling for birthmom) and when she has made her decision then she can grant us guardianship until the adoption goes through....and they made it sound like this is what typically happens.

I don't know your situation but for us it feels WAY too much like waiting for a miscarriage (and we've had too many of those already).  As much as we have tried to keep our emotions guarded it is hard.  We are only a little over a month away from this baby's birth and haven't told any of our family and only a couple of our friends.  I can't really give you any advice but wish you best of luck. 
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The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.

Windthrow

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Re: Can anyone help with some information?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2008, 09:17:26 PM »

Ok here goes:

Quote
1. How/will a private adoption affect our China adoption?

There is some uncertainty here. In our case we did not withdraw our application from China until after our private adoption was essentially complete. There is some suggestion that the Provincial Government will make you withdraw your China file if you complete the private IA, but my own personal feeling is that with a referral still potentially years away you may be able to convince them to let you leave the file in China. At issue here is their insistence on having 18 months between children. I have been led to believe that this is really just a guideline and is somewhat open to interpretation.

Quote
2. What's the process? We don't have an adoption lawyer yet (haven't needed one).

2a. How do we even begin ... at this point, it's been a discussion with us and a discussion with birth mum & grandmother by the 'facilitator/friend'?

You need to retain a provincially approved facilitator to manage the process. We used Cheryl Appell and were very impressed. If you would like I will PM you her contact information. The facilitator is responsible for managing the process and ensuring that the proper process is followed and for doing all the required paperwork. The facilitator will make contact with the birth mom and arrange for an adoption practitioner to work with her through the process.

Quote
3. What are the rights of the birth mum / father (who we've been told doesn't want anything to do with the situation)? extended birth family (who have already been asked if they want child but no one is able to take baby at this point)?

I am not completely up on the birth father rights (we didnt have to address this), but I am pretty sure the birthfather will need to formally agree to termination of his parental rights. I believe this can happen before the birth but once you get started with a facilitator they will let you know for sure.

For the birthmother she can not terminate her parental rights until 7 days have passed from the time of the birth. Once she has done this she has 21 days in which she can change her mind. Once this period has expired the birth mother has no parental rights. Finalizing the adoption takes another several months but is generally just a formality and the birthmother is not involved in the process at all.

The extended birth family only has a say in all this to the extent they may influence the birthparents. This influence should not be underestimated, particularly if the birth parents are young.

Quote
4. How long does it take to finalize a private adoption? (I suppose we're worried about birth mum changing her mind ...)

As per above, once the 21 day period has expired your worries are essentially over. There needs to be 3 post placement visits in the first 6 months and then your adoption practitioner needs to right a report and a court date set. I think our court date was bout 9 months or so after our daughter was born.

Quote
5. And then, we'd like an open adoption. How do we begin to talk about this with birth mum?

The facilitator and the two adoption practitioners should help with this. Since you are open to openness this shouldn't be much of a problem.

Ok so that answers your specific questions briefly, here is some more info off the top of my head.

1. As soon as you get the facilitator involved and they get an adoption practitioner involved for the birth mom then you will be responsible for all costs incurred. This applies even if the birth mom eventually changes her mind.

2. You will need to get your adoption practitioner to update your homestudy. Not a big deal but will need to add a bit about openness really.

3. The extent of the relationship between you and the birthmom between now and the birth is up to you and her. The only constraint is that you can provide absolutely nothing to the birthmom that could be construed as "compensation". This literally means nothing.

4. Birthmoms do change their mind. This is an unavoidable risk of this process. There are red flags though to look out for. My advice is to go with your gut on this issue. One definite red flag though is if there is not support for the adoption plan within the rest of the birth family.

That is probably enough to get you going. Feel free to ask any other questions you can think of though.





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wewait

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Re: Can anyone help with some information?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2008, 09:36:24 PM »

beenthereonce, thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

I can't imagine what you're going through now that the birthmum is having second thoughts so close to the due date. this is a concern of mine too and I know what you mean about guarding your feelings. Even though this is really new for us ... it hasn't taken much (after already going through so much) to bring hopes into being. It sounds like your social worker has experience to know that this happens at this stage of pregnancy. I really can't even imagine what or how the birthmum deals with making her own decision. It must be the toughest decision in the world to have to make. That's great that you're able to ensure the birthmum has counseling.

I know what you mean as well, when you say you haven't really told anyone including family. We just hosted a family dinner here tonight and we fielded lots of questions about the progress of our adoption and China. Given the 'freshness' of our new situation and more so, the uncertainty we didn't say boo about this possibility. It's feels weird to think that our whole world could change so suddenly (given our long wait for China) and we're not even sure what we should tell our families.

You mention that your China agency has said it won't be a problem. Do you know how long of a time there has to be in-between adoptions? I think I recall reading that 12 or 18 months but I can't remember.

I'm also curious, if you don't mind my asking, have you met the birth mum? I'm curious about maternal health and how we go about asking the birth mum about how she's been taking care of herself? Perhaps it's not our place to ask ... I don't know.

I really hope that things work out for you in the best way for your family. It's a hard place to 'sit' - negotiating a family. At least for us, it had been. I'm eternally hopeful that things will work themselves out. Foe each of us along this journey.

 
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wewait

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Re: Can anyone help with some information?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2008, 09:59:05 PM »

Thank You very much Windthrow. I really appreciate your responses to each of my questions.

Please PM me with the details for Cheryl. She sounds good and even though she may not be in our area, she may be able to work with us.

Yes. I think about what I read recently in one of our Agency's email updates. There was something in it about having to withdraw from the China program if a domestic adoption is pursued or completed. There seems to be uncertainty about this for sure ... especially given that there is also the statement about 18 months in-between adoptions. I suppose I can contact our Agency. Mind you, I really don't want to alert them to anything too soon. Maybe our social worker knows something about this. Do I read you correctly then, that you withdrew from China after completing your domestic adoption?

Thank you for mentioning the Home Study update. We're actually in process right now and we'll be meeting with our social worker in the next week or two. We'll be sure to have a discussion with her with regard to domestic / open adoption and make sure our HS is updated to reflect this.

I have to admit, we are both nervous about 'putting ourselves out there'. Was there uncertainty for the birthmum of your baby? It must be such a crazy 30 days, hoping each day for the phone not to ring. In our situation, the birthmum's family seem to be completely in favour of her making the decision to place the baby. I'm not sure if this is a conciliation to us or not. I'm just not sure what to think at the moment.

thanks again for all your help. We really appreciate your time.

 
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Windthrow

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Re: Can anyone help with some information?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2008, 10:25:13 PM »

The list of approved facilitators is here:

http://www.gov.on.ca/children/english/resources/child/STEL02_179880.html

I notice there is one in your area. I would probably start with her as opposed to trying to do a long distance thing.

Yes we withdrew after. I am not sure this sort of thing comes up very often though and to a certain extent I think everyone is still winging it with the huge increase in the China wait. It never used to be realistic to think you could complete another adoption and have 18 months go by while waiting in line for IA.

If you weren't nervous you wouldn't be human. I can honestly say though that once we had met the birthmom and her family we never really worried about her changing her mind. In particular, we never worried after we took our daughter home from the hospital. Every situation like this is completely unique though and you are going to need to feel your way through this.

You have my e-mail...ask as many questions as you like!

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whenpigscanfly

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Re: Can anyone help with some information?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2008, 10:36:45 PM »

Just a couple of thoughts wewait.  We have had a very, very positive open adoption experience, after having first started in the China line.  

I really enjoyed reading the book - "The Open Adoption Experience" by Lois Ruskai Melina and Sharon Kaplan Roszia.  I got it through Amazon.  It helped give me insight into what kinds of thoughts and concerns birth mothers have and gave me alot of help in knowing what was appropriate to say.  

On asking re. the pre-natal care or maternal health - it really helps if you have a lawyer or facilitator because they will have the birth mother fill out a detailed social and medical history that you can review.  Having said that, you can introduce the subject easily by simply asking - how is your pregnancy going?  And the conversation will likely flow from there - ask the questions you would ask a friend going through a pregnancy and you will do okay.  Upon our request, we were given medical records relating to the pre-natal care of the birth mother as well as ultrasounds that we could take to our doctor for review.  

And re the possibility of a birth mother changing her mind - that is the risk you take on when going the private route and you have to fully accept that possibility going in.  But what really helps is if the birth mother gets counselling and fully understands her options and makes the choice freely.  If she has good family support for the decision, that is also very positive.

There is something really powerful about a birth mother choosing you to parent her child - it is such an amazing thing that will overwhelm you with emotions.  You will feel incredibly honoured and privileged to be given that opportunity.  
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beenthereonce

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Re: Can anyone help with some information?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2008, 12:26:26 AM »

Wewait-we met the birth mom a few weeks ago.  It was a very emotional but awesome experience.  She has very good family support and although it is hard for us right now in the way of not knowing what her decision will be, our feelings are that once she makes her decisions this will be it.  Her parents are both very supportive of any choice she would make, but from the few little comments that were made we could tell that they are fully in favour of an adoption plan.  We were very upfront in the beginning stages of this whole process of the issues of fetal alcohol and we were told that this mom does not drink, smoke or do drugs.  When we met we simply asked her how she was feeling and she told us how things were going and that the doctor said she and the baby were healthy and opened up to us more of her feelings etc.  We have a very astute almost 4 year old who was with us (we were in another province and did not have access to a baby sitter) so we were careful how we phrased things (we mentioned to the mom and her parents that we had not told our daughter anything) so a few times we were talking in 'code'.  Having our daughter present was probably the best thing we could have done though as she helped 'break the ice' and at the end of the visit it was mentioned that they had no question about us bonding to and loving an adopted child.  Meet the mom.....no matter how things turn out it was a great experience and is helping us through the time right now when everything is so unsure. 

I agree whenpigscanfly....it is very much an honor to be chosen, and my heart aches for this young girl having to make this type of choice.
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The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.

wewait

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Re: Can anyone help with some information?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2008, 06:50:07 AM »

thanks again for sharing these personal experiences with us. It must be such an incredible honour to be chosen by the birth mum.

Thanks to everyone's comments here we're figuring things out and we've contacted a facilitator to help us out.

Today I'm planning to speak with our 'friend' again and see what she knows after speaking with the birth mother about us yesterday. Hopefully, I'll know more later.

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