Carol Mardock, IFS Founder and Domestic Adoption Program Director
I am happy to report a significant increase in the number of completed domestic adoptions over the past 6 months. Our number of waiting families is less than 12 and is usually around 6 being profiled at any given time.
Families often come to International Family Services because we are known as a leader in international adoptions and these families are often ready to consider a child of another ethnicity. Then they discover they can experience their culturally diverse adoption dream without the international travel and without longer wait times associated in an international adoption.
Most of our domestic cross-cultural adoptions are completed in 6 months to 1 year, and occasionally they are even faster. Families also appreciate that the dossier gathering process is much simpler than an international dossier. We only need a home study and FBI criminal clearances to proceed. Plus, DCC adoptions are infant newborn adoptions.
Facts about the IFS domestic adoption program:
1) When a birthmother decides to make an adoption plan, she chooses the “forever” family for her child. She reviews profiles (12 page color photo journals with no identifying information) of prospective adoptive families. The Adoption Profile Book is an important part of the domestic adoption process. There are proven ways to put a printed Profile together in a fashion that will help present the adoptive family in the very best light. IFS helps through this process.
2) We require birthmothers entering our program to give us access to their medical records and to allow us to run a criminal report and family/relative history. This keeps IFS and client families “in the know” not only regarding health matters, but also sheds light on anything that may show up that could be drug related. These precautions help keep the birthmothers accountable.
3) Every state has laws that allow the birthmother to change her mind and keep the baby after birth. However, each state also has laws regarding the length of time from the birth to when the adoption is legally finalized. There are a few states where birthmothers are allowed 30 days or longer to change her mind and keep the baby. Other states (the ones where IFS works) have laws that keep the time frame on the short side (24 – 72 hours after birth and the birthmother is drug free from any birth-related pain meds). The legal papers are done right away protecting the adoptive parents and the birth mother. In our DCC program less than 5% of our birthmothers change their minds and keep the child. It has happened, but when it does the adoptive family is put at the top of the list to be profiled again and matched.
4) We don’t “profile” adoptive parents until the birthmother is in her 3rd trimester. By this time she has felt the “realness” of the baby and has usually emotionally finalized her plan to go through with the adoption.
5) We also do a lot of work with birthmothers to make sure they are making the right plan for her and her family. We want what’s best for the birthmother, the child and the adoptive family.
6) Typically we (IFS) encourage semi-closed (sometimes referred to as semi-open) adoptions. We suggest that adoptive families offer to the birthmother that they would like to set up a private blog providing her passwords so she can see pictures and read about child developments. This allows her to feel that she has not lost contact with the child. It is likely adoptive parents will talk with the birthmother after they have been chosen and families will most likely meet the birthmother at the hospital. We work adoptive families through all of this.
I can’t tell you how exciting the IFS domestic program is for me to direct. I love my families and working through the myriad phases of the domestic adoption process. While I cherish all that IFS does in the international adoption arena (I have 5 internationally adopted children and have made dozens of international journeys), I also love working within the US legal system.
Learn more about our Domestic Adoption Program. Contact Carol Mardock, IFS Founder and Domestic Adoption Program Director.