During our adoption journey these last few months I have learned quite a bit about domestic (In the US) adoption. I am sure Troy has learned quite a bit as well, but will let him add his thoughts later.
I would love to talk to anyone who is interested in more details about adopting themselves.
First. There are LOTS of kids out there who need homes. There are many older kids especially. There are also quite a few babies especially if you are open to any ethnicity, possible drug/alcohol use and or any special needs. We kind of followed a non traditional way of connecting with our birthmom. Many families who decide to pursue adoption research agencies and sign up with just one of them to handle everything for them. When doing this they let the agency know their preferences if any and then the agency lets them know when chosen by a birthmom who has also selected that specific agency. The way we did it was initially we used an adoption consultant. She educated us quite a bit, helped us with our profile book then recommended a few agencies with little or no up front cost to register with. By reaching out to multiple agencies this expanded the potential expectant moms we could be matched with. Doing it this way was also a bit more challenging because in order for our family profile book to be shown to a birthmom the agency/attorney would have to contact us first each time and make sure we were interested and that we weren't presenting on any others right then as you can only present to one at a time. When you present you are committing 100% to adopting this child if you are chosen. For us this meant presenting 16 times in about 4 months. Sometimes these were babies already born, due any day or due in a few months. This was an exciting time, a stressful time, and a time full of much prayer.
We ended up networking with many other agencies so that I believe at the end we were hearing situations form 10+ sources. Most of the situations (an expecting mom looking for a family to place her baby with) that we presented to were kind of "overflow" cases from the different agencies/adoption attorneys. Typically there were cases that for whatever reason the adoptive parents that had registered with them were not interested. We saw mostly minority children, although not all, a lot of drug use/alcohol use situations and quite a bit of special needs from minor to extreme. When we would hear of a situation we would pray about it and then decide as a couple wether we felt God was leading us to present. This was such a faith building time. There were a few situations that were really scary feeling to us, but after much prayer we both felt there wasn't a clear no, so we presented and left it in Gods hands to decide.
Second thing we realized early on is that you really have to do your homework about many things. There are MANY adoption scams out there. Working with someone reputable can literally save you tens of thousands of dollars. Even working with someone reputable, there will be at risk expenses. Every mom has the right to end the end decide to parent her baby. Depending on the agency/attorney you work with the amount at risk can vary from $1000 to $18k or more. That brings me to the financial aspects. Domestic adoption is expensive! Most situations we saw were between $30,000 and $60,000. The exception to that would be older kids or more severe special needs, in those cases many times total fees were $10,000 or less. The costs really varied from state to state depending on the expenses the birthmom was requesting, rent, food, etc, and if she had medical insurance or not.
If you are being led to pursue adoption I would love to talk with you more.
One free resource if you are starting the process is a facebook group called Adoption situations. There are lots of helpful families and many situations posted there that once you are homestudy ready you can research further.