If I were in charge of the adoption process (because I'm allowed to daydream, right?) I would develop a "Point System" for Prospective Adoptive Parents as follows:
For every miscarriage or stillbirth a couple has experienced they get 1 POINT.
For every fertility evaluation/treatment or surgical procedure related to reproduction a couple has undergone they get 1 POINT.
For every 2 Years a Couple Has Waited to Adopt they get 1 POINT. (I would say one year- but as far as adoption is concerned that's hardly "waiting" in my humble opinion; 2 years seems a little more realistic of a waiting time to me before starting to get antsy)
For every child a couple fosters they get 1 POINT.
For every 10 Waiting Children a couple inquires about (because there are thousands of children waiting for permanent adoptive homes; inquiring about these children is the relatively "easy" part, it's being selected as the family best fit to meet the child's needs that is the hard part) the couple gets 1 POINT.
For every failed/contested adoption a couple goes through they get 1 POINT. And for clarification, a failed adoption is not the same as a disrupted adoption. To me a failed adoption means that a birthmother chooses to place her child with a family and then changes her mind (either before or after the baby is born) If the birthmother changes her mind before her baby is born then technically it would be more accurate to call it a failed prospective adoption since there was no actual adoption in the first place whereas a contested adoption is when a family actually adopts a child but a birthfather comes forward and says he didn't give his consent or in the case of Native American children, for example, the child's tribe contests the adoption because the adoptive family is not of Native American descent.
For advocating and volunteering for adoption and foster care (I'm not exactly sure how to scale this one- if it's number of years a couple has served on a board or number of activities and community outreach events one attends or number of editorials/articles or posts one reads, writes or shares with others) the couple gets 1 POINT.
Now here's what I would do with all of these "points": Simply add up all of the points the prospective adoptive parents have and whomever has the most points is put at the "top" of the list to adopt a child. Sounds easy enough, right?
Unfortunately, the adoption process is not easy, nor is it always fair. And although there may have been a "top of the list" way of doing things years ago, it doesn't exactly work that way anymore.
If a couple is adopting domestically they are most likely at the mercy of a birthmother who has to make perhaps the most difficult and heart-wrenching decision of her life. Not only that, but I think it's fair to say there's "competition" involved in adopting because the number of couples wanting to adopt FAR outweighs the number of babies and children available for adoption.
If a couple decides to adopt from foster care and fosters a child who is not yet legally free for adoption it is a huge gamble since the purpose of foster care is to support and ultimately reunite children and their birth families IF it is in the child's best interest (and sometimes reunification happens even when it is not in the child's best interest).
If a couple adopts a Waiting Child through U.S. Foster Care then there is no gamble about parental rights being terminated but the adoptive family better be very prepared and equipped to deal with behaviors common to children coming from backgrounds of trauma. Families who adopt children internationally from orphanages may expect to deal with some of these same issues (reactive attachment disorder, sensory processing disorder, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, etc).
Adoption is not only a gift but a HUGE responsibility. And anything that requires responsibility also requires patience, determination, (a sense of humor most definitely helps as well) and trust that if you do your part God will do His part, too.
What about you? If YOU were in charge of the adoption process what would you change? Would you scale some of the scenarios from my "Point System" differently- more points or less points, etc.?