9 Things to Know about Adoption in Oregon and Washington (2020)
By Gayle Fidanzo, Executive Director at Choice Adoptions
One of our clients, after weighing the pros and cons of making an adoption plan, concluded: ”I just want my baby to have a beautiful life.”
Isn’t that what we all want for ourselves and the ones we love? Not an unrealistic perfect life but a beautiful messy life where we grow up loved and our needs are met.
Choice Adoptions whole-heartedly serves communities in the PNW and our goal is to raise awareness about adoption.Choice Adoptions can help those whose hearts are longing for a baby to join their family. We help couples find that kid in foster care who needs them and who they need. We help girls and women with unplanned pregnancies take a moment to breathe and consider what’s best for them in their unique situation. We advocate for them while they explore their choices. If they need just a little bit of help to be able to parent, we try to find the best resources for them. And if adoption is right for them, then we help them find a family they adore.
We help keep kids out of a foster care system that is adding 25,000 children every year. We believe that no child should have to spend a day in foster care and it’s so preventable.
1) What kind of adoptions does Choice Adoptions specialize in?
We are a domestic adoption agency. We have a contract with the state to place children who are in foster care in adoptive homes. And we also have an infant program where we work with expecting families to place babies into adoptive families.
2) What does the adoption process look like?
For the adoptive families, it involves a home study process, and for the birth family it simply requires a text or phone call to get the support and help that they need. Advocates who are paid professional staff meet with families and walk them through every step of the process. For birth mothers, we work to ease all the stressors she is facing -- emotional, financial, physical -- and give her the space she needs to consider all her options and decide what to do. She may decide to parent, allow her child to go into foster care, terminate her pregnancy, or make an adoption plan.
3) How much does it cost to adopt through Choice Adoptions?
To adopt a child from foster care, the cost is around $2,000. To adopt a newborn, the cost is about $31,000.
4) How long is the wait to get a baby or a foster child?
Currently the wait averages about 2 years start to finish.
5) What are the birthfather laws in Oregon and Washington?
Biological fathers are not entitled to notice of an adoption in Oregon unless they are married to the expectant woman, have financially supported her, lived with the child, or registered their potential paternity with the state. In Washington State biological fathers must be given notice of an adoption. Choice Adoptions handles the details of giving legal notice. If expectant fathers want to be involved in the adoption plan, they are welcomed.
6) What if Child Welfare is involved?
Unless a person's parental rights have been terminated by the court, they have a right to make a private adoption plan, even if there is an open DHS or DCYF case.
7) What are some of the things that people believe about adoption but may not be true
I must own a home
I need to have a lot of money
I must be married
I am obligated to involve an absent or uninterested birthfather
I have no choice but to let DHS take my baby away if I have an addiction, if I am houseless, or deal with mental health issues.
8) What would you say to anyone whose heart is to be a mother but that just hasn't happened for her yet?
Consider adoption. The obstacles are manageable. Don't be discouraged by the cost. There are fundraisers, there are grants, there are adoption loans. Don’t worry about the wait. It’s worth it, and if you are in our infant program and you don’t give up, the result will be that you will be adopting a baby. Happens every time.
9) What is one thing you want us to know about adoption?
Adoption is in many ways a women's issue. It is young women who become pregnant and the burden falls on them to decide what to do. No one can decide for them. It is within their power to conceal a pregnancy, and it's within their power to break their own heart trying to do the right thing. They can stuff their emotions and pretend it doesn't matter. They can sit beside you at church on Sunday, or run into you at the grocery aisle on Tuesday, and have an abortion scheduled for Thursday, never telling a soul. And maybe you didn't give them a hug on Sunday, or you didn't ask them if they are doing alright at the grocery store, because you just didn't know. You weren't aware. I'd love to encourage us all to be aware of the young women surrounding us, who may need help and encouragement. The greatest travesty is that a young women would not know that there are wonderful programs such as Choice’s Birth Parent Advocacy Program, which is here to help them; and that there are beautiful people waiting and longing to become parents who also would honor and love her, and who would genuinely want to stay in relationship with her forever.
Obviously if your heart has been moved by any of these possibilities I’ve mentioned we need to have a longer conversation. If you need more information please click here for birth parent resources and click here for adoptive family resources.
It is very often women who change the world for children and I can feel the power in this community to do just that!