Robert C. Lamarche, an adoption attorney and a gay dad of three, lists the reasons why adoption wait times have recently become longer than usual, and also shares tips on preparations before things go back to normal in this post-COVID world.

GUEST POST | For anyone in the “waiting” phase of the adoption journey please don’t lose hope.  Adoption wait time has become longer recently and there are a few reasons for that. Birth rates have been steadily declining since 2014 and there was a 4% dip in 2020 the first year of the pandemic.  While the percentage of newborns being placed for adoption is very small in comparison any reduction in the birth rate is bound to have an impact on placement numbers.  

Contrary to what many in the adoption field thought; it turns out the longer you are in lock down with someone the LESS likely you are to be intimate with them.  Additionally the unprecedented availability of  financial support may have allowed more people to parent their children.  There was a small increase in the birth rate in 2021 but most of my colleagues around the country continued to report lower than average placement rates.  This alone would contribute to increased “wait” times but there is another significant factor.

During Covid millions of Americans were working and nesting at home. During that time the numbers of adoptive parent applicants exploded.  Perhaps it was  a renewed focus on family or the ability to work from home that made adopting suddenly seem within reach. We had more families apply to adopt the first quarter of 2020 than we had in the entire previous year and those numbers have continued.  Many agencies and attorneys have found it necessary to cap their waiting families list.  

I believe most of my colleagues would agree we are slowly returning to pre-covid numbers of adoption placements.  So in the mean time I recommend you :

1).  Keep your home study and clearances updated.  People miss out on last minute cases regularly because their documents are not current

2).  Update/tweak your profile  Show off that weight loss, couples trip to Disney or the new fur baby

3). Revisit your preferences.  The more open you are to race, gender, mental health and substance exposure the more possible matches there are for you.

4).  Examine situations that are presented to you carefully.  Is the birthmom getting the support and services she should?  Do you understand the legal risk? Is the entity contacting you a licensed child placing agency or attorney?

But more then anything, enjoy your life and remain excited and hopeful.  Your little person will find their way to you.  

Robert C. Lamarche serves as the Executive Director of Private Adoption Agency ACF Adoption in Florida.