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Ask an Adoption Question#1: What is the best way to book flights for an upcoming newborn adoption placement?

Posted on 24. Apr, 2014 by .


Exciting news! We are starting a new blog series called “Ask an Adoption Question”.

It is very simple. You ask a question about infant adoption – I answer it. This Q & A series will help lots of folks who have the same or similar questions.

What is your adoption question? There are two ways to ask:

1. Send me your question via email.

2. Send me your question by leaving a voicemail.

Alright – let’s get started! Here’s the very first Adoption Q & A and the question comes from Gary in Washington:

Hi Tim,

My wife and I live in Washington and are trying to book a round trip flight to Missouri where the expectant mother lives. She’s due on June 16, and we were planning on going from June 12 to July 1, but are confused as to the best approach to booking a flight.

For example, on Delta’s website, they offer refundable tickets but are charging a ridiculous amount for them. We also thought about non refundable tickets which are much cheaper, but are not sure if buying travel insurance makes any sort of sense or not (isn’t that only for completely canceling a trip, not re-booking?).

Then there’s the timing of the return flight. Although she’s due on the 16th, she could be late, causing us to stay later into July. I’m not sure if we should give padding and book a return flight for July 4. Worse case scenario, if we need to come back earlier, we’re not paying as much as we would if we have to re-book for a later flight close to the holiday.

Also, do some airlines offer discounts for adoption-related flights? Delta said they don’t.

As you see, I’m all over the map here and would appreciate some direction/advice.



Hi, Gary!

First of all – congratulations on the match and upcoming adoption! Wow – how exciting is that! June 16 will come fast!

Thanks for great question. My wife and have similar experiences with our first two adoptions, so I applaud you for trying to figure this out ahead of time.

For our son’s adoption, he was due late September. We wanted to be there for his birth (and his birthparents wanted us there too). We also wanted to have plenty of time with him and his birthparents after he was born. We researched flights so we knew the departure times each day and how long it would take us to get there.

So the plan was for our son’s birthparents to call us anytime night or day when they were going to the hospital. We would then buy tickets for the next available flight (most flights weren’t booked solid) with a return flight for 2 weeks later. We knew there was a chance we’d have to change the return flight but it was MUCH cheaper than buying changeable tickets.

Our son ended up being 11 days late so it was a good plan for us. We got the call at 2am. We immediately jumped online, bought the tickets and were on the 6am flight. We made it to the hospital less than an hour after our son was born (awesome!).

We stayed in the state for 10 days and spent a lot of quality time with our son’s birthparents. We had to pay the $150/ticket change fee for the return home flight but it was worth it.

My advice:

  • Don’t buy a refundable ticket – you are right, they are waaaaay too expensive.
  • You can buy travel insurance if you end up canceling your flight all together (let’s hope you don’t have to), but insurance doesn’t help you with re-booking or changing flights. You may be able to cancel the flight and use the credit to fly at a later date. Here’s the explanation from Delta’s website: You have one year from the ticket’s original issue date to reschedule your travel without losing the full value of the ticket (less any applicable change fees).
  • Buy a non-refundable ticket. If you want to be there for the birth and time away from home isn’t a concern, then book the ticket before she is due as you described in your email. It may make sense to book the return flight on July 4th (or the 3rd) if those flights are more expensive and tend to be booked solid. You’ll likely have to change the reservation anyway.
  • I haven’t found an airline that will offer any discount or change fee waiver for families adopting domestically. There are plenty that do this for families adopting internationally. Not sure why they don’t offer something for domestic adoptions. Here is a website that lists a bunch of travel services for adoption.

Hope this helps!
Great question – these situations affect a lot of hopeful adoptive families.

Thanks so much.


Here’s Gary’s response:


You’ve been a tremendous help; thanks for taking so much time to answer all of my concerns.

My wife actually had a good conversation with a Delta rep. over the phone who claims that there’s a way they could waive a change fee for a situation like a delayed or early birth. We’ll have to confirm that of course with a manager or supervisor when we call next.

Again, thanks…and I like your suggestion of keeping a sense of humor through the entire journey. I feel I’m going to need it. ;)


adoption question

What is your adoption question? It’s easy! Two ways to ask:

1. Send me your question via email.

2. Send me your question by leaving a voicemail.

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IAG 018: How anyone can afford to adopt – interview with Cherri Walrod of

Posted on 18. Apr, 2014 by .


How anyone can afford to adopt
Click here to listen now

In this episode of the Infant Adoption Guide Podcast, you’ll learn about how anyone can afford to adopt as we chat with Cherri Walrod of

Today’s show is all about how anyone can afford to adopt. You’ll learn about how to break down the financial barriers that may be keeping you from adopting.

Domestic infant adoption can be expensive and most of us hopeful adoptive parents struggle with how to afford all of the costs.

I’ve talked to lots of folks who get discouraged about the cost of adoption. Many of them lose hope and don’t believe they can do it because the costs seem out of reach.

Does this sound familiar to you?

If so – you will want to listen to this episode of the Infant Adoption Guide podcast. We are going to give you tips, resources and most importantly…hope with ways you can afford to adopt. [...]

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IAG 017: How adoption consultants can help you with Nicole Witt from The Adoption Consultancy

Posted on 04. Apr, 2014 by .


In this episode, we talk about adoption consultants – and how they can help you on the domestic infant adoption journey.adoptionconsultancywithNicoleWitt

Are you feeling stuck or overwhelmed on your domestic infant adoption journey? Have you considered working with an adoption consultant?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that 100% of hopeful adoptive families have either felt stuck or overwhelmed (or both) at some point during the process of adopting. My wife and I have adopted twice and I know we’ve been there.

In this episode of the Infant Adoption Guide podcast, we’re going to get you some help. Nicole Witt, the Executive Director of The Adoption Consultancy is here to help us understand what adoption consultants do and how they can keep hopeful adoptive families from getting overwhelmed or stuck.

Nicole and her husband went through infertility before having their two children. She is a frequent speaker on adoption and is recognized as an adoption information source. She’s been interviewed by all sorts of media including Fox News, World News Tonight, and many others. She is also a professional member of Resolve – which is the National Infertility Association.

The Adoption Consultancy is all about helping you build a family through domestic infant adoption. Nicole and her team are the self proclaimed “wedding planners” of the adoption world (love that analogy). They are your support team who will help you avoid and overcome the obstacles, disappointments and difficulties along your way to becoming parents through adoption.  

Click here to listen now

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Why Nicole started The Adoption Consultancy.
  • What adoption consultants can do to help build your family through adoption.
  • The difference between an adoption consultant and a facilitator. [...]

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5 tips to get through your adoption home study

Posted on 29. Mar, 2014 by .


image courtesy of vorakom /

The first thing you need to know about an adoption home study – they are to help you adopt, not to try and keep you from adopting.

All families must complete the home study process before a baby can be placed with you. The home study helps ensure a good match is made between children and families. It’s also to make sure the homes of hopeful adoptive families are safe and comply with state adoption laws.

Not all home studies are created equal. Every state has its own adoption laws and different requirements. Here’s where you can check the home study requirements in your state

Most states require that either an adoption agency or social worker must complete your home study. It’s helpful to know that agencies and social workers want you to adopt and become parents. They want to filter out the obvious weirdos or child abusers. They are not looking for the perfect parents – because we all know there are no perfect parents :). 

My wife and I are going through our third adoption home study right now, so this is a perfect time to share tips from our research and experience.  

5 tips for getting through your adoption home study:

1. Read about and understand home studies.

It helps to know what you are getting into, right? Here are some helpful places to read about home studies:

Once you begin your home study, your social worker will tell you what information they need. To give you some understanding of what they will require, here’s a typical home study checklist to review.

The checklist outlines many of the common items required in a home study, but should be used as an example only. Always contact your social worker or agency to get exactly what you need for your home study so you comply with your state’s adoption laws.  [...]

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IAG 016: What you need to know about adoption attorneys with Mark McDermott

Posted on 21. Mar, 2014 by .


Click here to listen nowIn episode 16, you’ll learn what you need to know about adoption attorneys.


image courtesy of suphakit73 /

When hopeful adoptive families start the process of domestic infant adoption, we can easily get overwhelmed as there are so many ways to adopt in the U.S. Working with an attorney may not be the first thing we think about when starting our journey. We may have no idea we even need an attorney.

The truth is every domestic infant adoption needs an attorney to legally complete an adoption. Laws about adoption vary from state to state – and they are extremely important to know for a successful adoption.

Case in point – when there are two states involved in an adoption, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is in effect. The ICPC applies whenever a child is brought from one state (sending state) to another state (receiving state). The ICPC process requires lots of documentation and involves adoption laws from the sending state and the receiving state. 

When my wife and I went through our first two newborn adoptions, we worked with adoption attorneys in our state and the state where our children were born. Making sure you are doing everything according to state law can be tricky and risky.

It isn’t something that should be left to just any attorney who may be “familiar” with adoption. You need an adoption attorney – someone who specializes in adoption – someone who practices adoption law everyday

In this episode of the Infant Adoption Guide Podcast we chat with Mark McDermott, an adoption attorney who practices in the Washington DC area.

Mark is….

No matter where you are in your adoption journey, eventually you will need an adoption attorney. Mark will help you understand what adoption attorneys can do for you and where to find them.

What you will learn about in this episode: [...]

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Questions to ask adoption agency references – what you should ask and why + a BONUS just for you

Posted on 13. Mar, 2014 by .

questions to ask adoption agency references

image courtesy of winnond/

Trying to find the right adoption agency to help build your family can be a daunting task. Most hopeful adoptive families get overwhelmed with how to choose – and for good reason. There are over 2000 agencies and attorneys in the U.S. – so where do you start? Thankfully, there are some resources to help – such as these:

4 Domestic adoption agencies with sliding scale fees

Domestic adoption agency reviews: 3 agencies with little or no upfront costs

5 websites to help you find an agency or attorney

As you know, not all agencies or attorneys are the perfect fit for everyone. It can be risky if you choose an agency or attorney without talking to anyone who has successfully adopted with them. The flip side is also true – it can be risky to choose an agency only because you know one family had a good experience with them. There is no guarantee you will have that same experience.

In episode 15 of the Infant Adoption Guide podcast, we went through: 

7 Common mistakes to avoid when selecting an adoption agency

Steering clear of these mistakes will definitely help in your research to choose the right agency. In that episode I talked about the mistake of not getting enough (or any) references from adoption agencies. It is super important to ask agencies and/or attorneys for references that you can contact – either by phone (which is preferable) or by email. 

These references are people who have worked with that agency and have successfully adopted. What better way can you find out what an agency is like – than to ask people who have already adopted with them? [...]

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IAG 015: 7 Common mistakes to avoid when selecting an adoption agency [podcast]

Posted on 05. Mar, 2014 by .

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Click here to listen nowIn this episode you’ll learn what NOT to do when selecting an adoption agency.

7 common mistakes

image courtesy of scottchan/

When you have a BIG life decision coming up – would you LOVE to know what common mistakes people have made when making that same decision? I say YES – absolutely! 

Think about this: when you decide to move – sell your house and buy another. It’s a big decision – you need to think about where to move – when to move – if you have kids, are there good schools? Who can tell us what it’s like? You definitely want to do lots of research and then make your decision.

So, why should it be any different when selecting an adoption agency or attorney to help you build your family?

Today we are talking about the 7 common mistakes to avoid when selecting an adoption agency:

1. Not doing your homework.
2. Not getting enough references.
3. Choosing only based on what’s closest to you.
4. Choosing only based on cost (aka the cheapest).
5. Choosing only based on your home study agency.
6. Choosing based on advertised extremely short wait times.
7. Analysis Paralysis.

There is no one right way to choose an adoption agency or attorney – but there are many wrong ways. Most hopeful adoptive families get overwhelmed with how to choose – and for good reason. There are over 2000 agencies and attorneys in the U.S. – so where do you start? [...]

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The ULTIMATE guide on how to start a local adoption support group

Posted on 20. Feb, 2014 by .


Here on the Infant Adoption Guide blog, you’ve read about the 12 reasons why you need a local adoption support group and How to find a local adoption support group.

What if there are no local groups near you? Or maybe you’ve found a group, but what if it doesn’t fit what you need? Well, there’s hope. You can start your own local adoption support group. Now – before your anxiety level gets too high, it isn’t as hard as it may seem.

You can do this. You just need the tips and tools to get started. Here is what I’ve found to be the most helpful stuff for starting your own local adoption support group.

How to start a local adoption support group

image courtesy of adamr /

The beauty of starting your own group

1. You get to choose how the group is structured (type, where to meet, frequency of meetings, content, etc.).

2. You can choose the type of group members (example: only those who are and/or have already gone through domestic infant adoption.) [...]

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Adoption book review: ABC, Adoption & ME

Posted on 15. Feb, 2014 by .


A little while back I got an email from Gayle. She asked me if I would consider looking at her book about adoption. After checking it out on Amazon, I told her I’d love to review it. Shortly after that, my copy of ABC, Adoption & ME arrived. I have to say that I am truly impressed.ABC Adoption and ME

I had never seen an adoption book for kids like this before. It is so unique because is uses every letter in the alphabet to talk about lots of adoption topics. I especially like the letter F – it is for Family. Birth families, adoptive families – forever families. 

Written by Gayle Swift and her adult daughter Casey Swift – ABC, Adoption and ME is a great book to sit down and read together because it gives adoptive parents the ability to discuss adoption with their children. Each letter’s topic is coupled with descriptive illustrations that creatively covers different aspects of adoption.

You can start reading it when your child is at an early age and it will be a book they can enjoy for many years.

My 7 year old daughter (whom we adopted as a newborn) read the book almost immediately after it arrived. She had a big smile on her face as she read it – and commented several times about how she thought it was an awesome book! She loved the pictures and I could tell how each page captured her attention. [...]

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How to find a local adoption support group

Posted on 06. Feb, 2014 by .


Local adoption support groups can be a lifeline for those who have adopted and those still on the journey. It is so helpful to talk to someone who “gets” what we are experiencing through adoption. 

Image courtesy of bearvader /

Image courtesy of bearvader /

I’ve written about the 12 reasons why you need a local adoption support groupNow that you know why these groups are so important – let’s show you how to find one.

How to find a local adoption support group:

The North American Council on Adoptive Children (NACAC) has a searchable list of hundreds of groups so you can find one in your community.

Adoptive Families magazine has a searchable list of support groups. Just enter your state to find one near you. is government site that has a searchable database of adoption support groups. has local support groups listed from every state. allows you to search for adoption to see if there are support groups in your city.

Here are sites that list groups in a particular city and/or state:  [...]

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