This is the slogan that Adoption Connection, PA (ACPA) in Beaver has been using for the past couple of years to promote adoption. I can tell you from personal experience that adoption does rock. It’s also a blessing, and amazing, and wonderful.
My First-Hand Experience
Our son was adopted and placed in our arms when he was just two days old. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful to have this little boy in our family and for the strength and love that his birth mother had to possess to hand him to myself and my husband, knowing that we could give him what she couldn’t.
When we found out about the possibility of adopting our son, we contacted ACPA to to become informed on adoption. There were laws to learn, paperwork to fill out (a lot of paperwork!), interviews and many meetings and emails with our caseworker and attorney, but in the end it was all worth it. Today that baby boy is a big brother himself and loves going to school, play soccer and draw pictures of sharks.
Adoption Connection, PA (700 Turnpike Street in downtown Beaver) is a faith-based, non-profit adoption and foster care agency. They assists families hoping to adopt, support birth-mothers who wish to make an adoption plan for their babies, and also work with foster children in need of a permanent home.
Rules & Regulations
The process of adoption isn’t always simple. There are many laws to learn that vary by state. In addition, prior to the actual adoption there are many steps to take in order to be ready to be a “waiting family.”
First, a family must fill out an application, list references and complete the necessary background checks. Once approved, the home study process must begin which consists of paperwork, a wellness physical, and a financial history.
Next, a caseworker from ACPA will conduct two home safety checks as well as conduct family interviews. This helps ACPA get to know the family and home situation.
Once these steps have been completed and approved, the time comes to wait for matching and placement, which can sometimes take on average anywhere from 18-24 months. Although the process might seem long and complicated, don’t let it deter you. Adoption is a beautiful way to build a family.
Sherry Hutchison, ACPA Outreach Coordinator, states the most important thing when considering adoption is to be confident in the agency you are working with. Go to multiple orientations and ask a lot of questions. “Adoption is personal. The agency you choose should fit your needs and reflect similar beliefs as yourself,” she encouraged.
Misconceptions About Adoption
There are some misconceptions about adoption. Some people believe its purpose is because of fertility problems, but many families have a desire to adopt, regardless if they have biological children or not.
Other times there is confusion about the role birth parents play in a child’s life. Adoption looks very different now than it did years ago. ‘Open adoptions’ – in which a child has some sort of contact with the birth parent – are very common.
“Being honest about adoption and where a child comes from is essential. The adoption circle which includes child, adoptive parents and birth parents can be very beautiful,” said Hutchison.
Foster Care Options
Hutchison also urges those considering adoption to also be open minded about foster care. The Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) in Pennsylvania works with families with a desire to adopt an older child. There are more than 400,000 children in need of a family in the United States. And while private and international adoptions carry fees, adopting through the foster care system can be free.
“We are strong supporters of foster care and ask that those with a desire to adopt to try it; to give a child a chance. There are so many children waiting to be a part of a forever family. When we asked some of our foster children what they would say to someone contemplating foster care or adoption, their reply was, ‘Just give us a chance.’” said Hutchison.
And while adopting or foster a child might not be right for every family, there are still ways we all can support adoption. The biggest thing anyone can do, according to Hutchison, is pray.
“I think it goes without saying prayer works. Pray for birth moms to choose life. Pray for adoptive families and foster families and their children. Pray that agencies will spread the good that adoption and foster care can do, but also for every child to live in a safe, loving and nurturing environment.”
For more information regarding adoption or foster care, or ways you can volunteer or donate, please contact Adoption Connection, PA at 724-371-0671 or visit adoptionconnectionpa.org.