“…whoever welcomes a child like this…. welcomes Me.”
Here, you’ll find answers to the questions we’re most asked about Lifetime Christian Adoption’s nationwide services to hopeful adoptive parents.
If you don’t see your question below, please contact us to get an answer.
Lifetime Christian Adoption would be happy to provide you with free information about our successful domestic adoption program!
1. What is Lifetime Christian Adoption’s history and background?
Lifetime Christian Adoption was founded in 1986 by Mardie Caldwell, Certified Open Adoption Practitioner. Lifetime was created to help build families through open adoption. Mardie herself is an adoptive parent. Lifetime Christian Adoption is not an adoption agency; rather, it serves to meet the needs of both the adoptive family and birth parents in the adoption process, providing education, guidance, support, networking, and adoption plan assistance.
2. What types of children do you have available?
Mostly newborns, though we do have some toddlers, sibling groups of two to four children, and some older children. Some of these children are Caucasian as well as others of racial or mixed heritage. These children are from many different states. Our birth mothers contact us directly from our advertising and networking. You will find that our fees are more affordable because you have only one coordinator with various resources involved.
3. How long is the wait?
Lifetime Christian Adoption does not have a “waiting list.” As soon as you are contracted and have provided us with your profiles you will be presented to birth mothers. Our quickest match has been 24 hours and some a few months to two years. Generally, all families who have remained in the program have adopted. Mainly it depends on how soon the adoptive family provides us with their profiles and the quality of the photos and overall profile. The process can move quickly or sometimes slowly.
4. Can we select the gender of the child?
Lifetime does accept families requesting a particular gender. However, we find that birth mothers often respond negatively to gender preferences and comment; “If the family was blessed with a biological child they would not be given the choice of gender.” None of us want the birth mother to feel rejected because her child is not of the appropriate gender. Many of our birth mothers don’t know what gender the baby will be and even sonograms are not 100% accurate. We encourage families interested in only one gender to reconsider. If an adoptive family insists on gender preference, Lifetime will accommodate this request with all parties fully understanding that if the family is not matched within the contracted period of performance, Lifetime assumes no responsibility for this risk. There may be an added fee for families requesting a specific gender.
5. Do you ever have twins?
Yes. In the event of multiple births, Lifetime Adoption fees will only be for one infant or one sibling group per two-year contract.
6. What does bi-racial or mixed-race mean?
Bi-racial children are usually thought of as African-American/Caucasian children. Mixed-race children may have two or more racial backgrounds which may include African-American heritage. We normally have a large number of bi-racial birth mothers requesting adoptive family profiles.
7. Where do your children come from?
We attract birth mothers from many states. We advertise in many states and on the Internet bringing in birth mothers from all over the U.S. Many of our referrals come from personal referrals, hospitals, physicians, newspaper ads, yellow pages, and counselors.
8. Who is eligible to adopt?
A loving family who can provide a healthy, stable family life can adopt. Though we do occasionally consider single-parent women in our program we primarily serve married families. We will review your application and schedule a phone conference to discuss your needs and to ensure that we can work together. If for any reason we are unable to work with a family, a suitable referral may be given. It is because of our screening process that we have had such a high success rate. Lifetime Christian Adoption has fewer restrictions than many adoption agencies in regard to the region in which you live.
9. Do you have age requirements for adoptive parent(s)?
Adoptive parents must be at least twenty-one years old.
10. May families with other children apply?
In some cases we have found that families with a large number of children may take longer to be chosen. Our review committee will consider your application and let you know if we feel we can assist you through our newborn program. Our older children and bi-racial children are always in need of quality homes with or without children already in the home. You will find that we are very honest with our prospective families, and will not accept your application and fees if we don’t feel you would work well with our program. Generally, the criterion is usually set by the birth mother, birth parents, or other circumstances.
11. What about the baby’s health?
Lifetime Christian Adoption requests medical releases and health information; we provide you with all documentation that we receive from the doctor. In addition, many hospitals will routinely do a toxicology screen on all newborns. The results of this toxicology screen will only tell us whether the mother has used drugs recently. Lifetime Adoption will assess each birth parent’s willingness to be tested for drugs, HIV, and/or sexually-transmitted diseases prior to birth when possible. If you feel it necessary, you may get an HIV test done on your baby soon after you pick him/her up.
12. Do we need a home study?
Yes. Lifetime Christian Adoption can recommend an organization in your state or direct you to where you can obtain a home study. You may start the process without your home study in many states so that by the time your home study is done we are ready to go.
13. Why does a home study take so long?
Many people believe home studies are a long and arduous process. The fact is, most home studies are completed within two to three months. This is a short amount of time when compared to the fact that the result is a lifetime of blessings. Those wishing to complete the home study more quickly can ensure a smooth process by thoroughly and accurately completing all paperwork, allowing a flexible schedule for home visits, and being open to all aspects of the home study.
14. What is open adoption?
Open adoption can have many meanings, from sharing only first names to sharing letters, photos, and possible visits. Lifetime Christian Adoption strongly supports openness among all members of the adoption triad: birth parents, adoptive families, and children, since it is believed that openness in most adoptions is in the best interest of all parties, and, in many cases, has proven to result in safer adoptions with fewer reclaims. The choice is yours and the birth parent’s, in regards to the amount of openness you both feel comfortable with. We recommend letters and photos and many times these are sent through our office.
15. Are there benefits to open adoption?
Open adoptions provide children with a higher sense of self-worth. They do not have to question who their biological parents are or why they were placed. While closed adoptions work well with some families, Christian open adoptions have shown to be fruitful for all involved.
16. Will children believe they have two sets of parents?
Simply put, no. Parents who terminate their rights know they are no longer considered “mom” or “dad.” Likewise, children who grow up fully aware of their biological parents’ roles are usually very stable and happy. They may develop a close relationship with their birth parents, but the children who have been blessed with a Christian open adoption will always know the adoptive parents are their true parents.
17. How are adoptive families chosen in Christian adoptions?
Biological mothers choose Christian adoption services because they want their children raised in a religious household. The birth parents select the adoptive Christian parents by looking through their online profiles, reading about them, and sometimes talking with them in person or over the telephone. Birth parents always make the final decision regarding the adoptive family.
18. Can we reach you after hours and on the weekends?
Lifetime is unique in that we provide our contracted families with a number of ways to contact us. We all have cell phones, pagers, email, 24-hour answering service, and secure fax. We are available on all weekends and holidays to take calls from birth mothers; this is a time when most other organizations are closed. We are also available for emergencies and birth mother calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This can be very important if your birth mother goes into labor after hours.
19. If I adopt a newborn, how old is the baby when I receive him/her?
Usually 24 hours to three days for newborns – in some cases, most adoptive families can bring the baby home directly from the hospital.
20. When do we go to court?
You will go to court with your adoption attorney after the birth parents have transferred their legal rights. Please contact your adoption attorney or agency for more information regarding your own state requirements. Our birth mothers come from many states. You will be working with the laws in your state and that of the birth mother.
21. What about confidentiality?
Lifetime Christian Adoption will share with birth parents your first names and other non-identifying information. You have the option of giving as much or as little information to the birth mother matched with you as you see appropriate. We do not disclose your income or where you work to birth parents; this is left up to the adoptive family. Most families feel very comfortable after meeting their birth mother and want her to feel comfortable with the family that will parent her child. Each state requires that some information be given to the birth parents.
22. What do we need to get started?
- Complete the application to adopt.
- Once this is received we will have our review committee determine if we feel Lifetime will be able to help you. You will usually be notified within two weeks.
- We will schedule a free, personalized phone conference with you and a trained adoption coordinator. We will also send you our contract and check off list once you have been accepted for the adoption program.
- When you are ready to begin the adoption process, send back your contract, contract fee, and any other information mentioned by your coordinator.
- We will walk you through the adoption process from beginning to finalization as needed. A binder will be sent to you with helpful adoption information, sample resumes, and assorted material to make your adoption easier.
23. What happens if the birth mother changes her mind before or after placement?
We are fortunate to have a low reclaim rate. However, if this should happen, the adoptive family is put back into full activity immediately. Unlike other services, you will not have to pay any additional fees.
Our goal is to build your family through adoption.
24. Can a birth father claim parental rights after the adoption is completed?
The biological father’s rights are terminated during the Christian adoption process even if he is not present. The birth father cannot claim parental rights to the child once the adoption is complete.
25. If we don’t have an attorney or agency, how do we find one?
We have reliable attorneys that we network with within most states. Once we begin our contract process with you we will provide you with a list of names in your state.