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Q&A: How To Find A Birth Mother?

My wife and I currently have an application with an agency for a domestic adoption of an infant. We have had this application in for almost four years and our profile was shown several times, but we have not been selected. We're getting tired of waiting, and are considering trying to adopt independently. Can you give us any advice with respect to advertising and searching for a birth mother?

Well, I agree that four years with little action is asking too much. As you know, in most states you can adopt domestically through an agency or independently, often through an attorney or, in some states, a facilitator. There are several differences between an independent adoption and an agency adoption, and one of them is that usually, with independent adoptions, you will be required to actively seek an expectant woman that is considering making an adoption plan. Whomever you adopt through will give you specific ideas on how to “advertise” for expectant mothers, but it will probably include networking through your friends, family, place of worship, and doctors, and advertising in local newspapers and on the Internet. Because of the expenses people incur while searching, independent adoptions are often more expensive.

When I consult with people who have been waiting a long time—with minimal results—for a domestic adoption, I usually suggest that they look at what they’ve told their agency or attorney as far as risk factors, gender, or race. Often, there’s a low probability of finding a child that fits the profile that the couple is requesting. Sometimes adoptive parents are correct to stick with these restrictions, but sometimes they are just not well informed about what the risk factors mean. Another suggestion is to look at the information you prepared for prospective birth mothers. It could be that you need to rework it to better show yourselves off. 

Since you would likely lose the money you already paid if you withdrew your application from this agency, I would suggest that you ask them specifically how many children they’ve placed each year in the last four years that meet the criteria you’ve requested. How many of these women saw your profile? How would they suggest you improve your profile? Also, read over your contract. Many agencies do not prohibit you from concurrently proceeding with an independent adoption. You also need to think through what you would do if two birth mothers selected you.

By Dawn Davenport