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UK CouplesAdding an American to Your Family
We are delighted to have helped many wonderful UK families become parents! As of May 2004 we have placed twenty-four infants with families in the United Kingdom. There are challenges, of course, in creating adoptions over so great a distance, but we’re glad to pick up the gauntlet. The reward for us is seeing so many happy families who probably would never have been able to adopt without us.
We know you’ll have many questions, and we hope to answer many of them here. For further program information, please visit our Pacific Northwest and Q & A pages.
WHY WOULD BIRTH PARENTS CHOOSE TO PLACE A BABY WITH A FAMILY SO FAR AWAY FROM THEIR HOME?
Birth parents quite clearly want to choose what they feel will be the very best home for their baby. Every person placing a baby for adoption has a specific story with a set of reasons for making the adoption choice. Most often the decision to place a child “so far away” is made by someone who wants to make sure there is no chance of randomly meeting the child or family. Far away destinations may feel romantic and glamorous. The birth parent may have a personal interest in or some family connection to the UK. It may be that the one family she feels comfortable placing with just happens to live in London or Birmingham or Wales. Or, the birth parent may want an environment for her child that is radically different from her own childhood.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF YOUR WORK IN THE UNITED KINGDOM?
Several years ago we were contacted by a couple from Hampshire who were seeking eagerly to adopt an infant. They contacted many agencies in their search, but most had never worked internationally and weren’t really willing to try. Having cautioned them about the expense and stress involved with international adoption, we agreed for them to visit Oregon and meet with our staff. We found them to be delightful people with a great deal of perseverance and determination. Six months later they adopted a healthy baby, straight from the hospital. They met the birth parents, and spent some time together at the hospital. The hurdle of our first UK adoption was crossed, and the rest is history!
All families must attend the seminar prior to having their family albums shown to birth parents. We know it’s a huge chore to get all the way here, but believe us—it will make your adoption much easier! The seminar will let you know what to expect, give you the opportunity to meet birth parents and adoptive parents who have worked with us, and give us a chance to get to know you. We find that when we know a couple we can be much better advocates for them. We hold seminars in Portland three or four times a year, and over the past several years have held five seminars in England. We hold these out of country seminars on an as-needed basis when we have a sufficient number of families to cover the cost of travel and time away from the office. If you have concerns about attending the seminar, please feel free to contact Sue, who is the Education Director.
WE HAVE HEARD THE EDUCATION SEMINAR YOU PROVIDE IS HELPFUL. HOWEVER, WE ARE VERY FAR AWAY. MUST WE TRAVEL TO THE SEMINAR?
HOW DO REQUIREMENTS FOR UK FAMILIES DIFFER FROM THOSE FOR FAMILIES LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES?
1. You MUST have e-mail access. E-mail will ease the process considerably, allowing you to communicate easily with us. If your area does not have access, please speak to Deborah. After you are placed with a child, you are certainly free to disconnect from the e-mail system.
2. You must make provision for the transfer of adoption fees from your bank to ours, in US dollars, in a timely manner. The transaction fees on both ends of the transfer need to be covered by the adopting family. In lieu of wire transfer, we are happy to accept a check in US dollars, sent by DHL or another express carrier.
3. You must learn about and meet your own country’s requirements for bringing the baby back into the UK. We are generally familiar with the paperwork requirements and will support your needs as we can. However, changes occur from time to time and you must take responsibility for gaining an awareness of current documents needed.
WHAT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE FOR THOSE OF US ADOPTING FROM OUT OF COUNTRY?
Many of our families have found wonderful help through a support group called The North American Connection. It’s made up of UK families who have adopted from the United States, some of them through Heritage and some through other agencies. They have social events a couple times a year, and are also delighted to talk about their experiences. We strongly urge you to get in touch with them and attend their events. There is a wealth of support, information and hope to be found there. Please contact Deborah for information on how to get in touch with The North American Connection.
Another good resource in the UK is the Adoption Helpline. We encourage you to ask the agency or social worker doing your home study for contact information about this service.
For information about adoption through Heritage please feel free to e-mail Kathy or call or e-mail us for further information on other UK adopters who are willing to provide support. Your best resource for solid information about requirements to get your baby home is the most recent family who has adopted. We will be glad to put you in touch with them. Please understand that while Kathy and these families cannot offer you legal advice, they will gladly provide support and as much up-to-date information as possible.
HOW WILL THE HAGUE CONVENTION AFFECT ADOPTIONS BETWEEN THE U.S. AND THE UK?
This is an excellent question without an easy answer at this point because the Hague has not yet been ratified by either the U.S. or the UK. It does appear that we will be able to continue making placements in the UK, but we will not know for certain until ratification by both countries. Our agency will need to be certified, licensed or otherwise approved to meet Hague requirements. Oregon is currently changing licensing requirements to match Hague standards. One of our staff is on the committee that is working on that project, so we are already aware of what we will need to change, mostly how we document our work with clients.
OUR HOME STUDY IS COMPLETE, BUT WE DO NOT YET HAVE OTHER APPROVALS OUR COUNTRY REQUIRES. CAN YOU PRESENT US TO BIRTH PARENTS WHILE WE ARE WAITING?
This is a very good question, but one that we cannot answer. At this time, the problem would not be with the U.S. but with UK law. What if you were matched with a birth mother and she had the baby but you did not yet have your other approvals? Would your country’s immigration laws permit you to bring the baby back into the country? Could the approvals be speeded through? If not, would you be willing to stay here with the child while you wait? Your home study agency may be better able to answer this question than we are. We can tell you that birth parents would rarely be willing for the child to be in temporary care with someone other than adoptive parents during a waiting period; they all want the child with their permanent parents ASAP. Once the Hague is ratified by the U.S., and/or Oregon’s new licensing requirements go into effect, we believe the answer to this question will be an unequivocal “No.”
PACIFIC NORTHWEST PROGRAM FEES FOR FAMILIES FROM THE UK
TOTAL ADOPTION COSTS USUALLY RANGE FROM $21,500-$26,000
The fee for our professional services in adoption planning is $21,000. The fee covers all agency services, which may include but is not limited to the following: Locating birth parents – Intake and assessment of birth parent calls – Screening, counseling, assistance with all required forms, including the Social Assessment, Genetic and Medical History – Birth parent decision counseling, family counseling with parents and siblings – All casework services – Adoption education workshop for parents – Home study review and issuance of the Certificate of Approval – Development of the match meeting and birth plan – Hospital social work services and discharge planning – Legal consents preparation and execution, notary services – Budget planning with birth parents, financial monitoring and check issuing – Case conflict resolution – Assembly of legal documents and delivery to finalizing attorney – Transportation to important appointments, if needed – Collation of the post placement report, and final report to the court.
AGENCY FEE SCHEDULE
$500.00 Application Fee – Payable when you turn in your application packet.
$1,000.00 Adoption Education Fee – This covers our two-day seminar, consultation and education you will need to prepare your family album and the development of your Dear Birth Parent materials. The fee is due when you register for the class, OR meet with us to develop the materials, whichever occurs first.
$1,000.00 Home Study Certificate of Approval Fee – Due and payable when we receive an original of your home study.
$750.00 Inter-Country Coordination Fee. – Due and payable when we receive your Home Study.
$7,000.00 Match Fee – Due and payable at the time a decision is reached by the birth and adoptive parents to work toward a placement. This fee solidifies the match and must be paid within 48 hours of the match. The match fee is non-refundable. All families are strongly encouraged to obtain adoption insurance if available.
$2,000+ Birth Parent Expenses – From this we will pay birth parent expenses. Before you accept a match we will give you our best estimate of the total expenses we anticipate. Your initial deposit of $2,000 is due at the time of the match. You will be expected to maintain this fund at $1,000. At the conclusion of the adoption, we will refund to you any portion not used for expenses. It is typical for us to assist birth parents with their expenses four to six weeks after delivery. We are pleased to provide a detailed statement for you at any time you request.
$11,500.00 Placement Fee – Due and payable after the birth parent consents have been signed and your child is formally placed in your physical custody, usually before discharge from the hospital.
$250.00 Post-Placement Fee – Payable when we receive the report from your local social worker, which allows us to complete our report and send it to the court.
ADDITIONAL VARIABLE COSTS MAY INCLUDE:
Your personal travel and accommodations, legal costs of filing the adoption in Oregon or Washington court, and legally-allowable pregnancy-related birth parent expenses. These may include birth parent and baby medical expenses not otherwise covered by insurance, maternity clothing and necessities, basic transportation, food and rental assistance, emergency utility assistance if needed, and post placement services.
We will be happy to discuss with you in detail our policy regarding birth parent expenses.
Be sure now to read the Q & A and Pacific Northwest pages of this website. Much of the information there will apply to your adoption plans. Remember, however, that fees listed on the PNW page apply to U.S. families. Fees for UK families are listed above.
If you have questions or concerns regarding our fees or any other aspect of adopting from the United States, please feel free to call Deborah at 503.233.1099 ore-mail her at [email protected]. We are happy to provide you more information.