Howard Magazine - Page 42 - The changing face of Adoption

Howard Magazine
- Page 42
The changing face of Adoption
Long seen as costly and burdensome, adoptions are becoming more common and more accessible

By Leah Shepherd For Howard Magazine

Photos by Jay Reed

Nine years ago, Karen Stoner of Columbia got a text from her husband, Mark: “It’s a boy.”

After more than seven months of waiting, they had been matched with a baby at a foster home in South Korea. Three months later, they flew to Seoul to meet their son, 7-month-old Max.

At first, he cried a lot in the hotel, a sign that he missed his foster mom. But it didn’t take long for him to become attached to his adoptive parents after they found some foods that he was used to eating.

“He bonded super-quick to me,” Karen Stoner recalled. “It was definitely meant to be.”

She found out shortly after adopting Max, now 9, that her family would grow more: She was pregnant with their daughter, Aly, now 7.

The Stoners — and my family — are part of the changing face of adoption in Howard County and the United States. International adoptions like theirs have declined, with more local families considering U.S. adoptions through foster care, according to Janice Goldwater, executive director of Adoptions Together, an adoption agency that serves families in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. And adoptions of all kinds are becoming more common, more accepted and less secretive than in the past.

Though it has a reputation for seeming too costly or too burdensome, adoption today can be accessible and doable.

My husband, Scott, and I adopted our two sons at birth; they are 7 and 9 now. We chose domestic infant adoption, one of three options for adoptive parents.

Adoption agencies explain the pros and cons of each option and help families identify