Let control go, and hang onto flexibility

For whatever their reason, there are some couples who only want a child whom is the product of their own DNA. Right or wrong, it’s their parental choice. However, when it’s not possible due to fertility issues, the options to creating a family are significantly reduced.

Adoption is one avenue to achieving parenthood of a child that is “yours”, but with a slightly different set of genes. There is no right or wrong answer; the response and the choice is whatever is best for the couple and the family they are about to create.

Zeroing in on a rigid set of adoption criteria can potentially set you up for a particularly long wait. To be blunt, if you are, for example, looking only for a blue-eyed, blond-haired Caucasian boy from Iowa whose mother used no alcohol or drugs during her pregnancy – you may never find that child. There simply are not many babies out there who match those criteria, and if they are, they are in high demand.

By being willing to consider flexibility of some criteria, you’ll find the options will increase. Think about adopting a child who may not share your features (or your partners). Maybe hair color is an area of flexible criteria that you’d be willing to forgo. Another area where being flexible will help you create your family faster is in terms of race or ethnicity. However, some potential parents are concerned that their relatives won’t accept an adopted child of a different race.

This was our concern. One set of grandparents felt our being a same-gender couple would be tough enough on our children without adding the component of different ethnicities. While we didn’t share their hesitation, we did respect it. It is important that your flexibility in choices not impede consideration of the relationship your children will have with you, but also the relationships they will have with other family members.

In some states, it’s legal for adoption agencies charge different rates based on the ethnicity of the child you are adopting. From a moral perspective, you might think that’s wrong; but from a business perspective, that’s called supply and demand. My friend who adopted the two African American children was not only able to get her kids much sooner because of their race, but she also did so far less expensively. As she puts it, she got two children for the price of one, and she was very happy about that. If you can be that flexible, you can have your family sooner rather than later and sometimes even more cost effectively.

The more flexible in your criteria, the greater your options for bringing your baby home and enjoying your family sooner. You’ll find even more tips in our book “Getting to Baby”.

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