In recognition of Adoption Awareness Month this November, Progyny hosted a webinar to shed light on this path to parenthood. Our expert host and panelists, each with their own unique professional and personal adoption experiences, discussed important stages of the process, aspects to consider, and helpful resources available.
This webinar featured:
- Brittany Hildebrandt, Progyny Adoption Coach & Patient Care Advocate
- Nicole Berckefeldt, adoptive parent and Progyny Clinical Education Supervisor
- Brenda Retrum, Director of Adoptive Parent Services with Adoption Choices of Colorado
There are many misconceptions about adoption that can negatively impact the decision-making process for individuals and families, as well as their emotional well-being. It is important to gather expert information around this pathway and debunk these potentially harmful myths so that you can make the best decision for you and your family. One of the most popular misconceptions we hear is that adoption is solely a last resort for family-building. It is important to acknowledge that there are many families who choose adoption as their first path to parenthood. There are many various reasons that people choose to build their family this way and it is a large misconception that adoption may only be tied to factors of infertility.
There are several resources and experts that can help you gather accurate information around adoption. If you are a Progyny member, you have access to a Patient Care Advocate as well as an Adoption Coach to help you through your process. They can provide details around the process, as it specifically relates to your personal goals and background. Another great resource will be the experts at your adoption agency. They are there to answer any questions you may have and help you navigate the road ahead.
What to Consider When Choosing an Adoption Agency
Choosing the right adoption agency for you is a key component of the adoption process. The process will be very in-depth, so it is important to connect with an agency you feel most comfortable with. Members of the adoption agency, along with your attorney, family, and friends, will all become very important people in your family-building village. Here are a few helpful questions we encourage you to ask each agency as you begin your search:
- What are your hours, and what is your typical responsiveness?: This is a helpful question because the adoption process does not follow a 9 to 5 schedule, and partnering with an agency that will be available to you when you need them can help you feel most supported along the way.
- How long is your matching list and how does it evolve?: This question will help you kick off a discussion around timeline and process expectations.
- How do you find expecting mothers and what is your matching process?: Understanding how an adoption agency builds their relationships and establishes their processes will give you insight into the matching experience you may partake on down the road.
Choosing an adoption agency is an innately personal decision, and we want you to feel confident and supported in your decision. Here are some extra steps to take and things to consider:
- Read the agencies’ reviews and request to be connected to other adoptive parents who utilized their services.
- Be aware of any promotional material that mentions short timelines for the adoption process; the timeline for each individual will be different.
- Have a candid conversation about the fees you will be responsible for, at the start of your process, and throughout its duration. Fees should be discussed with you early on and provided in writing.
No two adoption experiences are the same, however, there are commonly shared logistics that are helpful to keep in mind.
- Timeline: There is no cookie-cutter answer to how long the timeline will take from beginning with an adoption agency to being paired with a child. The process can last anywhere from 2 months to 2 years and differs from adoption to adoption. It is best to keep open lines of communication with your adoption agency to understand the reality of timelines at each stage of the process.
- Paperwork: Adoption comes with ample paperwork. This documentation is needed in order to keep the process moving forward. Your contacts at the adoption agency will help you stay organized, streamlined, and on track, and will be your partners in understanding what is being asked of you and your family.
- Legal Support: You will most likely run into legal questions, or even roadblocks, during your adoption journey. It is important to find a legal team you can rely on to help answer questions and find the information you need. You can also lean on your adoption agency to help you problem solve, and/or be connected with the right legal team for you.
Questions from the Audience
1. Me and my partner have decided to start the adoption process. As Progyny members, how will Progyny support us?
When you contact your dedicated Patient Care Advocate (PCA) and express interest in the adoption process, your PCA will connect you with an Adoption Coach to talk about your specific goals and support you each step of the way. In addition to ongoing one-on-one support, you will also receive a variety of educational resources to reference throughout the process.
Your benefit may also include adoption expense reimbursement. Contact your PCA for more information.
2. How much will the entire process cost?
We encourage you to speak directly with the adoption agencies you are considering about all aspects of costs, including potential upfront fees, costs throughout the duration of the process, and billing logistics. Fees will vary based on the type of adoption you move forward with. For example, if you are interested in a domestic newborn adoption, fees could range from $35,000 to $60,000.
3. What is the home study process?
Your adoption agency of choice will work with you to schedule a home study as part of your adoption process. A home study includes a screening of the prospective parent’s home and several interviews. Home studies are not designed to ‘judge’ or ‘score’ you; this process is truly to learn more about you, understand how a child can fit into your life, and prioritize both parties’ safety and well-being. This home study could last about 3 months. After the home study is completed, you will be considered eligible for future matches.
If you have any other questions related to this webinar, please don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a Progyny member and have any questions about your benefit or coverage, please call 888.597.5065.