SAN DIEGO — Sandy and Andy Biondo decided to adopt last April but were confused about the process. They were told that it could take as long as three years to adopt a child. In the meantime, the Biondos have been filling out an endless number of forms and have spent hours being interviewed by an adoption agency.
The Coronado couple said the process has been intense, and their questions are just starting to be answered.
The Biondos might have felt better-informed if they had attended the San Diego Adoption Forum when they first considered adopting. The program, sponsored by the San Diego Adoption Coalition, attempts to educate couples and singles about the adoption process.
The annual all-day forum, which will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at UC San Diego, will be broken into several workshops, including a seminar on how people can search for their biological parents and children.
Aid From the Experienced
"There is a lot of misinformation and rumor about adoption," said Maureen Gevirtz, co-chairwoman of the forum and a member of Ours Through Adoption, a group of parents and prospective parents who have adopted or want to adopt. "The forum offers firsthand experience from people who have gone through it before."
Gevirtz and her husband, who are adoptive parents of two children, said the procedure wasn't as complicated as they thought it would be.
"Adoption is a common alternative people take to having children," she said. "But there is a lot of information one has to learn before getting started. At the forum we're going to have a list of the most common mistakes people make."
Like many couples, the Biondos tried for years to have a baby.
"I woke up two years ago and decided to take a positive step toward starting a family," Sandy Biondo said. "We applied to adopt a child or siblings under 2 years old."
Want to Meet the Mother
The Biondos recently were told by the adoption agency they are using that they could become foster parents by the end of this year. They said they would like to meet the biological mother of the child they eventually adopt, so they will know more about her.
Stephanie Weiner, a member of Adoptees Liberty Movement Assn., has never met her biological parents, even though she began searching for them in 1966. She made her first contact with a member of her biological family four years ago and found out that her mother had been dead 10 years. Weiner now keeps in touch with her aunt and several cousins.
"I decided to search for them after I recovered from a serious automobile accident. Through ALMA, I was able to have a search assistant from New Jersey help look for my mother who is from there. I'm not yet ready to search for my birth father. From what I have read, it seems that a lot of adoptees are prompted to search after an unusual event or crisis takes place in their lives."
The adoptees group will be involved in two of the workshops at the forum, Weiner said. There also will be a special workshop for professionals who deal with the adoption triad, which will address the roles of the adoptee, the adoptive parents and the biological parents. The program will include a discussion on legal issues in adoption.
"The forum gives adoptees a chance to meet others who have been adopted and birth parents a chance to meet others who have relinquished their child," Gevirtz said. "There will also be discussions on single-parent adoptions as well as interracial and minority adoptions, international adoption and special-needs adoption. It has something for everyone."
Registration is $6.