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Written by Anita Stevens
on November 17, 2015

Wait times are difficult to predict or estimate in any and all domestic adoptions.  If you use an average time based on the agency history of placement that year or past few months the number will not provide good information for most clients as you can be averaging two days and one year and this would not be typical. Even if you coincidentally waited that specific amount of time, it would be pure dumb luck. 


Domestic Adoption Placement


 What I have found in over twenty years of adoption experience is that clients who stay engaged with the adoption process by reading about the issues, connecting to the agency or other adoptive parents etc. are most likely to be chosen by a birth mother and have a reasonable wait time.  The fact is that there is no predictable flow of birth mother clients and no way to determine what kind of family the birth parents will most likely choose.  Statistically, the most popular day to be born is September 10th however this date does not correlate to any of my experiences in adoption even though I, my sister, and my cousin all had our first child on this day.  As an agency, we could go for weeks and not hear from a birth parent.  Then one day that is just like any other day, you could hear from multiple birth mothers.  For instance, today we heard from three potential birth mothers.  You can never predict. 


There are not typical families for typical birth mothers so we cannot make predictions that are based on real truth.  There are no families that can be described as “hot adoptive parents” meaning they as prospective parents are statistically most sought after or more likely to be ‘chosen by birth parents”.  We are almost always surprised at the choices a birth mother makes in open adoption.  Often these choices are not because of demographic realities or compatibilities that can be measured or predicted, they are often based on personal and important specific life experiences of a birth mother and the adoptive parents.  Many times these connections are not made until the birth parents and adoptive parents meet. 


Adoption is a leap of faith.  You leap by engaging in the adoption process hoping that your dream will come true but never knowing or having a guarantee when or if it will ever happen but living life and believing that when it is meant to be it will be.  I know this is not comforting for prospective adoptive parents and I wish I could tell a couple when it will happen for them because if I told them two years seven months and five days they could count the days down but unfortunately the wait is not predictable.  I have been on the phone more times that you would think encouraging, usually a woman that she should stay engaged in the process even if her hope seems small. Many of these women are ready to give up on their hope and dream.  I encourage them and of course the time is tearful and emotional and the next day or two, these women have a child in their arms and I wish that I could have known this as it would have saved both of us a lot of emotions.  Sometimes I feel an obligation to assure them that I did not know anything about the situation that became their hoped for adoption when I spoke to them the day before about not giving up.  But somehow for that woman, this experience was part of her process and journey to the child who would become her son or daughter. 


Occasionally people who know little about adoption talk to me and they seem to think that I have children always available for adoption.  Sometimes they look towards our office staircase and I wonder if they think the babies are hidden up there.  I wonder if they really have considered where adoptive children come from and how they arrive in their adoptive family.  Since we in the adoption community understand that the gift of a child to a couple by their birth parents is a thoughtful, wonderful, grieving, sad, happy, and incredibly selfless act that is carefully considered and is a complicated legal process, we know that all adoptions are in so many ways unpredictable.  The only predicable part of the adoption process is that when a child joins your family, you will have a sense that this is the child that was meant to be your child and that you were meant to be this child’s parent(s) and that all the struggles, disappointments, and challenges were all worthwhile as you gaze in to the eyes of your child and bless their birth parent(s) who’s decision made all of this incredible joy possible.  You will not be able to express your gratitude and neither will you be able to figure out the why or how of how they chose you, but you will always be glad that they did and you will most likely come to understand that this random act of love like most acts of love is not predictable.


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