Here are some common questions we've been asked since we've been matched. Please don't hesitate to ask us anything! As you'll see, there are some topics we're not sharing much about, but still ask. We love talking about adoption!
Will you get to name the baby?
Yes, we will. Although in adoption, it's a little more complicated than usual... The birthmother chooses the name that goes on the baby's birth certificate at the hospital. Once the adoption is finalized and we are the baby's legal parents, she will be issued an amended birth certificate and we can choose the name that goes on that and will be her legal name going forward. (Finalization with CA cases generally happens 6-8 months after birth.)
Also, many times with adoption the adoptive parents use some or all of a name suggested by the birthparents. We think this is a beautiful way to show the birthparents' love for their child, and to honor the child's birth family. In our case, the expectant mother did share with us a name that means a lot to her and the father, and we are taking that to prayer as we decide on a name.
What will you name the baby??
We're going to keep this a surprise! :) Although at a party Bethany's work hosted for us, many helpful suggestions were given like Dorcas, Minerva, and Hedwig....keeping those in mind, haha ;)
How long will you have to stay in California?
We don't know for sure, but likely a few weeks or more. The baby has some medical issues that will require a stay in the hospital. Once the baby is born and discharged from the hospital, ICPC starts. ICPC = Interstate Compact for the Protection of Children. During this time California and Maryland have to exchange paperwork and approve us to leave the state. If we leave California before we're approved, it's a crime and the same as kidnapping. (!!) This process tends to take between 10-14 business days, and since it starts after the baby leaves the hospital, if baby needs some extra post-birth care then we can't start the paperwork right away. That's why it's just an estimate at this point. Hey, a few more days to go to the beach! j/j :)
Are there medical issues with the baby?
We do not want to go into detail about that as that is very private. Long term the prognosis is very good and we embrace whatever medical condition there is or may come. Come what may, we love this child as our own.
Will the baby go home from the hospital with you?
That is the plan. The lawyer we're working with does what's called "direct placement" adoption so after birth, the mother signs a form making us the temporary guardians of the child and giving us the right to make medical decisions for the child. The baby is then in our care ("placed" with us), so when she is ready to leave the hospital, she will go with us. (FYI: some agencies, including our home study agency in Maryland, have what's called "cradle care" where the baby is not placed with the adoptive family right away but in a temporary foster home during the revocation period.)
What's the revocation period and how long does it last?
Even when an expectant mother makes an adoption plan before her baby's birth, she has a chance to change her mind after birth. This is called the revocation period and it is a different length in every state. In some states it is as short as 72 hours (maybe even shorter?) and in other cases it is much longer. In California, that time period is 30 days, so after birth the mother has a 30 day time period within which she can decide to parent after all. However, California, after third-party legal counsel, also grants the mother the ability to sign a waiver of this revocation period in which case the revocation period lasts 24 hours. We leave this decision completely up to the birth mother. (The rules are a bit different for fathers, and we won't attempt to spell that all out here....the lawyer will be guiding us throughout this whole process.)
Wow, that's a long time for the normal revocation period. Isn't that nerve-wracking?
We are sure there will be SO many emotions during the revocation period! It's a risk for us, and something that we knowingly accept. It will certainly be an emotional time for the birthparents, too. We believe giving this time to prospective birthparents is essential to make sure they make the very serious decision to place their child for adoption freely and with a lot of confidence. (It's interesting to debate what the "ideal" revocation period would be, but that's kind of irrelevant since the state's law is the law.) A good lawyer or agency will help adoptive parents know whether there are any noticeable "red flags" in a situation that indicate that the expectant parents might decide to parent after all. Our lawyer has been helpful in this regard. Yet, it is nerve-wracking. We will try to approach this time with faith in God's providence and also with the motto (shared by an adoptive mom friend) that no matter what happens, "Love is never wasted."
What is the story of the birthparents?
While we completely understand people's interest in the baby's parents, the only information we'll be sharing about them is that they live in California (hence where the baby will be born) and they made the heroically generous decision to place their child for adoption. Regarding everything else - we're not intending to be secretive, but rather are respecting their privacy and the fact that this is the child's story. The child needs to hear from us everything we know about her birthparents (or even from them, if that is possible), and then she can decide what to share with others. This is a principle we learned in our adoption training and we think it makes a lot of sense. We see ourselves as stewards of our child's story and will share it with her as she grows up, so that she knows where she comes from and can share that information however she wants (or not share, if she doesn't want to).
Will this be an open adoption?
We hope so! To clarify, open adoption is when there is ongoing contact between the adoptive parents and birthparents. Every situation is different. This could mean simply exchanging pictures and letters, or talking on the phone, or even meeting in person from time to time. We have spoken with the expectant mom on the phone, which was an amazing experience, and we really hope to meet her in California (and the father, and extended family - whoever wants to meet with us). We know that the expectant parents are interested in having some kind of ongoing contact, although we'll have to talk (guided by the lawyer) about what that exactly will look like. On our part, we believe that open adoption benefits everyone. Our child could have a chance to know more fully her biological background and heritage, and the birthparents can have greater confidence that their child is loved and cared for. As the child grows, we would get ongoing guidance from our Maryland home study agency about how to navigate this unique relationship (they have a full-time person who deals solely with post-adoption care).
Are you just so, so excited?!?!?!
The answer to that is a resounding YES!!! We can't wait!!
If you have another question please let us know! Either in the comments or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.