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Common Questions About Adoption

So over the last week, I’ve received hundreds of Tweets & emails asking questions about Ava & Hannah’s adoption. I love that people are curious about adoption. It really is the most beautiful experience but if you’ve never experienced adoption, all it’s intricacy’s can be quite confusing.

I thought I’d take an opportunity to address some of the more common questions I’ve received over the past week here. I am VERY open about our adopted children, so if you have a question, please feel free to ask it in the comments section and I’ll answer it for you, ask me anything, I’ll answer anything except questions that pertain to the personal information about my children and their birth parents. Note that I am not an adoption professional, so any information I share below will be in layman’s terms and my interpretation of our own personal experience.

What is “the 60 days”?

This is a “cooling off” period that the birth parents are given during which time they are able to change their mind about placing their baby. At any point during the 60 days, they can retract consent and the adoption will not go ahead.

Once the 60 days is completed the adoption then goes ahead legally, however, that is just a legality as all will be said and done at 4pm on the 60th day. This is ONLY the case when both birth parents have signed consent. If the birth father, most often absent, has not signed the waiting period extends to 90 days.

Why was Ava with you from birth but Hannah is in kangaroo care?

Ava’s adoption went through during the change over from the old child act to the new child act. With the old child act, the prospective adoptive parents could act as the place of safety during the 60 day waiting period. The new child act, while open for interpretation, does not make the same kind of allowance so most social workers will place the new born baby in a place of safety and only place the baby with the adoptive parents after the 60 days is completed.

What is a kangaroo mom?

Women who care for the babies while they’re in their places of safety during the 60 days.

Who names the baby?

Both birth parents and adoptive parents do. Hannah has been given another name by her birth parents. However, to us she will be Hannah. Once the 60 days are completed and we receive her final adoption order, we will be able to go to Home Affairs and apply for a name change. When her final adoption order is past in court, it is sent onto the department of social services, who seal her records until she is 18 and older and requests them be opened. This means that during our application for her name change, she will be issued with a new birth certificate which notes myself as her birth mother and Walter as her birth father and her new name will be issued.

Have we seen/held/met Hannah yet?

No, we are not permitted to have any contact with her until after the 60 days it completed. Hannah has a wonderful kangaroo mom who has, since we did the file hand over on Tuesday, been sending me daily photo’s of her but we are not allowed to meet yet.

Questions about birth parents?

I bring this one up because I understand that people have a natural curiosity about birth parents, but it is in no way polite to ask adoptive parents about their children’s birth parents. This is usually closely guarded information. I don’t want to share Ava or Hannah’s personal stories with anyone except them so until such time as they are old enough to understand their own personal stories, I won’t divulge that information to anyone.

Comments about how you don’t understand how anyone could just “give” their child away.

We get this often and I realize it is not meant to be offensive, but it really is an offensive thing to say. Private adoptions are different to state adoptions from places of safety. These are not abandoned children. Adoption is love. It’s a birth parents love for their unborn child that prompts them to make such a decision. It has little to do with the unplanned pregnancy being an inconvenience and everything to do with birth parents making the very difficult decision to entrust the raising of their child to someone else, someone they believe can give their child the life they believe they want for them.

I’d love to answer any questions you may have so please feel free to ask away!

 

 

 

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9 Comments

  • Reply Tracy

    I have a question! Lots of the teens I speak to asking about adoption want to know if they can still choose adoption if the birth father does not agree. If he does not want to give consent, what happens? Thank you! x

    April 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      From what our social workers have told us, a large portion of adoptions are done without the consent of the birth father. In these cases, the onus is on the social worker to try to find the birth father, usually by placing an ad in the the newspaper if the birth father’s whereabouts are unknown, or by contacting him and informing him of the birth mom’s intent to place the child for adoption. He will be given 90 days from that communication to contest. If he doesn’t contest, the adoption will go ahead without his consent. I’m told a large portion of birth fathers never respond and the adoption goes ahead without their consent. From what my social workers have told me, even though a large number of birth fathers say they will contest, when they’re issued their 90 days to contest, very few of them actually do.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:26 pm
      • Reply Wilna Malherbe

        Sharon love 30 days when a notice is served and 90 days when an advertisement was plas in a news paper where the birth father presumably resides. A notice is served when we know the address of birth father and advertisement when we only know b fathers name and surname.

        April 14, 2013 at 12:03 am
  • Reply Already a 100% mom, but not legally. Considered foster for now.

    Do you ever get asked if you would adopt cross culturally & if you do get asked that question, what do you say?

    April 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Yes all the time. And technically we have adopted cross culturally as both Ava & Hannah are mixed race.

      April 13, 2013 at 8:39 pm
  • Reply Already a 100% mom, but not legally. Considered foster for now.

    “Questions about birth parents?
    I bring this one up because I understand that people have a natural curiosity about birth parents, but it is in no way polite to ask adoptive parents about their children’s birth parents. This is usually closely guarded information. I don’t want to share Ava or Hannah’s personal stories with anyone except them so until such time as they are old enough to understand their own personal stories, I won’t divulge that information to anyone.”

    This is something I struggle with. I get asked often about that. I never know quite what to say. I do want to say I don’t want to talk about it. However, when people ask, I find myself feeling awkward & not wanting to appear rude, so I give a couple of sentences about our daughter & as quickly as possible try to change the subject. I really do feel it is no one else’s business & it is her story, so I guess I need to learn to say “It’s not my story to tell. When she is a teenager or adult, she will tell you if she chooses to”. I don’t know why I haven’t just said that to people before now. What words do you use when you tell people you won’t discuss it? Do you tell them that it’s not polite to ask & if so, what reaction do you get from them? I hope you don’t mind all the questions.

    April 13, 2013 at 8:38 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      That’s pretty much exactly what I tell people who ask!

      April 13, 2013 at 8:40 pm
  • Reply genevieve

    I don’t have a question but a comment, and that’s just to say that all the questions i have had have been answered, so Thank you for putting this post together!

    April 18, 2013 at 10:20 am
  • Reply Jenny

    Hi just a quick question did you get both girls through the same adoption agency ?

    April 25, 2013 at 11:33 am
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