Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In the face of statistics

According to our client account manager, 80% of expectant mothers who work with our chosen agency smoke throughout at least part if not all of their pregnancy in part as a response to stress. Seeing how our initial profile indicated we hoped to adopted from a non-smoking mother, we seem to have narrowed the potential number of expectant mothers who might select us pretty dramatically.

Our first client manager told us to consider loosening up on the “medical stuff” and accepting a child from a mother who is a heavy smoker because "really, the doctors we work with say that smoking doesn't really affect the babies all that much."

Our new client manager didn't actively promote this same change but she did make sure we understood the mathematics of the situation, recommended we speak with a pediatrician, and simply take this information into account in the event we decide to change our profile.

I'm curious...have other people run into this same issue? What did your placement agencies recommend? What decisions did you make?


Stephanie said...

This is such a tough decision to make...

We decided to accept a birthmother who smoked. We figured that it would be unfortunate, but that we would be address any problems as they arose. Through my own personal research, it seems that while smoking can cause some problems for a baby (low birth weight, immature lung development), that the problems were treatable and not necessarily lifelong. Since we don't smoke, the baby would come home to clean air and a healthy environment. That gave us some peace.

Fortunately, our birthmother claims she did not smoke during her pregnancy, only before. But, I feel like our willingness to accept a smoking birthmother may have helped her feel more comfortable incase she was worried she might "slip" once or twice during the pregnancy, since quitting is difficult no matter the circumstances.

Good luck! I hope you find peace with whatever decisions you decide to make.

kate said...

We obviously are not at this point in the process yet but we have decided to accept a birth mother who smokes, drinks occasionally (I think - hubby and I are still debating this one), and even some occasional pot smoking since pot is less harmful than cigarettes. No meth, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, etc. It's hard because when I was pregnant with our triplets I didn't eat tuna (to fight off any chance of mercury causing autism), peanut butter (I read somewhere that pg moms who eat lots of pb can have babies with peanut allergies), or stand anywhere near the microwave. It's so hard to lower my standards because I would go to the ends of the earth for the baby inside of me and here I can't do anything to protect the wee one we adopt until he or she is placed in our arms.

At the same time, although I don't want a special needs child, some alcohol/cigarettes/pot are probably inevitable anyways and it's not the child's fault that their mom is addicted. I guess that's how we're justifying it, anyways.

American Adoptions (I don't know if you looked at them or got their paperwork) requires that you accept a birth mother who smokes. There is no option on that one. That's part of the reason we won't use them. I don't want to be told what I can and cannot accept in a birth mother, even though we are planning on accepting cigarette use. I just want the prerogative of saying no if I wanted to. I know that they make acceptance of cigarette use mandatory because finding birth mothers who don't smoke can be very difficult. And they also don't drug screen birth mothers because they deem that 'too invasive'. Another reason why AA is out and ANLC is in, in our book.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a birth mother who doesn't smoke during the pregnancy. But I do think that you will probably have a longer wait because most moms who are willing to go that far to kick their addiction during a pregnancy - just because it is so hard - are probably more likely to not put their babies up for adoption.

Are you gender specific with this adoption? Are you open to other races or biracial babies? We are not going to be gender specific and we'll accept any race or combo of races except for African American for this first adoption (my hubby is half Filipino and we would really like a hispanic baby). Those things I've heard are also factors in how fast adoption matches are made.

I wish you the best of luck as you decide how to proceed and I really appreciate your comment on my blog! Thank you!!