Q: How long has A Precious Gift ARC been in business?
A: Our agency is on its fourteenth year — we opened our doors on January 23, 2006. Mary Lisa has been working in the adoption field for over 25 years in varying capacities. She has previously worked as an Adoption Advisor for several years helping birthfamilies and adopting families on their adoption journeys. From 2002 to 2005, through Adoption Expressions, Mary Lisa advised several birthfamilies in their adoption plans and assisted 14 adopting families in the adoption of 16 babies. It was through this effort that A Precious Gift Adoption Resource Center was born.
Q: How many children do you place in a given year?
A: On average, we have had approximately four successful adoptions in a given year, some years less, some years more. Although these numbers may seem low, please keep in mind that the number of adopting parents we work with at a given time is also low (we usually work with less than 10 adopting couples at a time) so the odds are good that an adopting family will be placed within a given year. Successful families are available to speak with as references, and we would love to share with you their contact information upon your request.
Q: Do you have any requirements for adopting couples?
A: Yes, we serve couples wanting to build their family by adoption who have been married for 3 or more years, with both parents at least 21 years of age, and with one or both parents less than 50 years of age.
Q: How soon after we apply will my homestudy begin, and how long will it take to complete? Do you accept outside homestudies?
A: When you decide to work with A Precious Gift ARC, we will send you an application to start the process. If you do not have a homestudy completed, we will send you a Homestudy Packet for you to complete and return to us. Once we receive the required homestudy documents, the homestudy process takes approximately two to three months to complete. Upon completion of the homestudy, we will inform you in writing whether or not you have been approved. In most cases, your social worker will give you a verbal approval once the homestudy is complete. We do accept current outside homestudies; however, you will still need to submit the homestudy for our review and approval before we are able to match you with a birthfamily.
Q: How long will it take from homestudy approval to matching with a birthfamily?
A: Unfortunately, this is not a question we can answer with certainty. The average waiting time to be matched with a prospective birthfamily is one year, depending on how pro-active you are on your journey. In most all cases, birthparents choose the adoptive parents from our pool of waiting families. We encourage birthparents to take an active role in choosing the adoptive parents for their child. Every birthparent has their own criteria for what they are seeking in an adoptive family. When your criteria fits the birthparents criteria, your family profile will be shown to the birthparents for consideration.
Q: How do prospective birthparents find A Precious Gift ARC?
A: A Precious Gift ARC advertises in several ways. We place most of our advertisements online, however, we have also advertised in college and church directories, magazines, newspapers, and yellow pages. We have also advertised in small ways, such as through take-out menus, county fair brochures, church bulletins, and diner placemats. A Precious Gift ARC networks with attorneys and other adoption professionals in addition to hospitals, colleges, crisis pregnancy centers, doctor offices, churches, and correctional institutions. A Precious Gift ARC approaches outreach as a partnership with adopting couples; therefore, you are required to participate in personal networking/advertising efforts. This will give you a sense of control in taking an active rather than a passive role in creating your family and increase your chances of being selected by a prospective birthfamily. Most personal networking can be done with little or no cost and will include A Precious Gift ARC’s contact information so all potential contacts will be carefully screened.
Q: Do you help us with our family profile?
A: Yes, we provide personalized individual counseling to help you prepare the text of your profile that best describes you and your family in an honest and attractive manner, and assist you in selecting photographs that are unique to you and most appealing to a prospective birthparent. We also provide customized desktop publishing to create an eye-catching scrapbook design of your paper profile that is linked on our website on our Waiting Families page.
Q: Will we have direct communication with a birthfamily?
A: Prospective birthparents will be encouraged to meet with adoptive families they like, either in person or by telephone, and make a decision based on this meeting, or subsequent meetings if needed. Once you are matched with a birthfamily, we encourage the prospective birthparents and the adopting parents to develop a comfortable and trusting relationship. It is suggested that subsequent meetings take place by telephone and or in person at a mutually-agreed upon location, such as a restaurant or someone’s home. In rare cases, birthparents may request a “closed” adoption, meaning they do not want any contact with the adopting parents, therefore all communication between the adopting parents and the birthparents will be through the agency staff.
Q: Can we choose the gender of our baby?
A: It is our policy not to allow our families to be gender specific. The majority of the time, the adopting family is matched with the birthparents prior to the birth, and in most cases, the gender of the baby is unknown. Even in cases where ultrasounds have been performed and gender has been determined, we have seen an anticipated “baby girl” born a baby boy! Standard ultrasound technology is not 100% accurate. We would never want a family to reject a baby because it is the “wrong” gender. This would be highly offensive and devastating to the birthparents.
Q: What will be the total cost of adopting through your domestic program?
A: Our agency fees are $26,000 (plus the application, homestudy, and post placement fees), with payments due in increments throughout the adoption process. We supply a breakdown of fees in writing as well as a schedule of when payments are due. Our agency fees do not include pregnancy-related birthparent expenses, travel in-state or to another state for the purpose of adoption, and legal fees pertaining to surrenders, post-placement, and finalization. Since every adoption is unique, it is hard to predict the total cost of an adoption through A Precious Gift ARC. Fees and expenses can range from $5,000 to $10,000+. We will be able to estimate how much an adoption will cost, and you have the right to decide whether or not you want to be profiled for a particular situation. It is recommended an adopting couple have in available financial resources at least $30,000 for an average in-state adoption and $35,000 for an average out-of-state adoption. (Out-of-state adoptions tend to cost more because of the additional adoption professionals needed to hire in another state.)
Q: What happens when a match falls through?
A: When an adoption is disrupted, it is an extremely emotional and grievous time for the adopting family. We will provide the necessary support, guidance, and encouragement you will need to continue on your journey. All fees paid to A Precious Gift ARC are non-refundable; however, not all are lost. When you are ready, we will place you back in the pool of waiting families to be considered for future situations.
Q: Do you provide a contract that spells out my responsibilities toward the adoption as well as what you are responsible for?
A: Yes, for everyone’s protection, we provide a comprehensive contract that covers all aspects of the adoption process, including A Precious Gift ARC’s services and the adopting parents’ requirements, and a written policy of quality assurance that will address your concerns during the process.
Q: What kinds of support services do you offer before, during and after placement?
A: A Precious Gift ARC supports you throughout the entire adoption process, and afterwards. Open communication is critical throughout your adoption journey with A Precious Gift ARC, and we encourage you to call with any concerns you may have along the way. It is important for you to contact A Precious Gift ARC as soon as concerns or problems arise. We anticipate families will have concerns and questions, and we are here to work through these issues with our adopting families.
Once a child is placed in your home, A Precious Gift ARC will continue contact until finalization of the adoption takes place in court. During this period, post-placement supervision will be conducted. The goal and purpose of post-placement supervision is to provide support and consultation and monitor the adjustment of the child into the home.
After finalization, an A Precious Gift ARC counselor will be available on a fee-for-service basis. If we cannot assist in resolving the problem at hand, we will provide information on securing the necessary professional adoption counseling resources.