Child Adoption Referral Process Survey

A Note from St. Mary’s Operations Manager: 

As an adoption professional, I get asked tough questions daily.  Parents want to know about estimated time frames for the referral process, or the average judge’s waiting period, or the typical health of the children. 

As an MBA, I am someone who likes to use numbers to make decisions, from the smallest decision to the biggest one. 

As a Christian, I understand that I am not in control.  I pray for the faith I need to entrust everything to God.  I understand that I can’t always have it my way, and that some things, like having children, one way or the other, does not fall into my spectrum of control.  

These are my thoughts that I wanted to share with you prior to sharing the adoption survey of our 22 St. Mary’s Parents who completed the adoption survey dealing with the child adoption referral process. 



  Referral Process Survey St Mary’s Parents’ Input

In an attempt to provide useful information to future adoptive parents, which we understand is important to them, we’ve decided to do a survey.  In the survey, we are asking our St. Mary’s Adoptive Parents about the child adoption referral process.  22 St. Mary’s Adoptive Parents responded.  Questions included:

  • Child’s health issues listed at time of referral;
  • Medical Professional Opinion(s) Sought and Afterthoughts of the Parents;
  • Children’s Current Health and/or any Health Related Issues;
  • Preparation and Education for Adoption.

As adoption professionals seeking to do our best to serve all of our parents, including current and future ones, we want to put forth our best effort to provide better information.  Now, this survey is NOT a scientific survey.  Professional pollsters use different mathematical models to diversify risk, so that a sample, of typically 1,100+ can be designed to be representative of the entire population.  This isn’t what we are doing here.  This survey isn’t representative of the population of international adoption, or even of Polish international adoption.  That isn’t our objective.  

Our objective is to ask our parents their thoughts about these issues so that we can share them with you.  Therefore, we gave this survey to St. Mary’s adoptive parents who have already adopted, have completed the entire adoption, including the child adoption referral process.  They are back home now with their children adopted from Poland.   

We hope that you’ll find this data useful, but we can’t stress enough that each and every child is different and so is each and every adoption.  Reading data doesn’t diversify any of the inherited risks away.  

We believe in describing the process through real life experience, and we’d love to put you in touch with some of these parents who took this Child Adoption Referral Process Survey.




International Adoption Preparation Chart

Q1: Adoption Preparation 

Part of the adoption preparation and education required for adoptive parents is a 10 hour online course designed for Hague Adoptions.  This education takes parents through some of the issues which orphans may be dealing with.  Each adoptive parent is to complete the course individually.  

The question we asked appears in the yellow box in the blue chart.  The findings were as follows:  

  • 73% ranked the course as:  “Good! Prepared Us” 
  • 4% ranked the course as:  “Did Not Prepare Us Enough”.
  • 23% selected the category “Other” and commented.


Q2: Medical Info At Time of Referral

We know this is a difficult part of the process for our parents.  Having been given photos and medical and social information prepared by the Polish authorities and having to make sense out of in 14 days. Its not easy.  We understand.  We believe that each and every decision is upto the parents alone and we stay out of their decision process.  We hope they pray hard.  We recommend they consult with a trusted medical professional.  It is our experience, over our 15 years of experience that, the information provided by the Polish adoption commission tends to be overstated.  However, we remind each and every adoptive parent that each child is different, and so is each circumstances.  Of our 22 respondents, we received the following data:

  • 57% thought that the medical info at time of referral was “Overstated” 
  • 38% thought it was “Spot on Accurate”  
  • 5% thought it was “Understated” 

Adoptive Children's Health Issues

Chart showing medical consultations for adoption.

 Q3: Did You Consult a Doctor?

Very simple question.  64% of the 22 respondents said they took the child’s medical information provided at time of referral to a medical doctor.  36% said they did not.  Below, we ask additional questions to find out:

  • What type of doctor they saw
  • The parents’ thoughts on the results of the consultation. 

 Q4: What Type of Doctor?

Another simple question.  Here is what the group of 22 respondents said: 

  • 64% said they took the child’s medical information to an “International Adoption Clinic”.
  • 36% said they took the child’s medical information to a “Local Pediatrician they knew”. 

Next we ask questions about the difference between the two types of doctors and their thoughts on the medical consultations they received as they were moving forward with the child adoption referral process. 

Types of International Adoption Doctors.



Chart showing opinion on international adoption doctors' evaluations.



 Q5: Specialized Adoption Clinic Feedback

With this question, we address what our parents’ thoughts were after they consulted with the different types of doctors.  

The question read:  “How Was the Doctor’s advice Compared to Your Child’s Actual Heath”?

Of the 64% of respondents who said they took their info to a “Specialized International Adoption Clinic”:

  • 56% said they thought the consultation gave them a “Pretty Accurate Evaluation” of the child’s health. (As the doctor reviewed the referral info)
  • 44% said they thought the doctor “Was convinced the Child’s Health was WORSE than He/She really was” (therefore overestimating the issues listed in the child’s report at time of referral). 

 Q5 Continued: Local Pediatrician Feedback

With this question, we address what our parents thought after they consulted with their different types of doctors.  

The question read:  “How Was the Doctor’s advice Compared to Your Child’s Actual Heath”?

Of the 36% of Respondents who said they took their info to a “Local Pediatrician We Knew”:

  • 100% said they thought the consultation gave them a “Pretty Accurate Evaluation” of the child’s health. 
  • 0% said they thought the doctor “Was convinced the Child’S Heath was WORSE that he/she really was”.


International Adoption Pediatricians.

Prayer in adoption decision.

 Q6: Did You Pray Before Deciding?

Another “yes” or “no” questions.  We wanted to know what percentage of our parents prayed before welcoming a child in their lives.  Of the 22 respondents who answered the question whether they prayed before accepting their child:

  • 76% said “yes”
  • 24% said “no”  

 Q7: How is Your Child’s Health Today?

The question read: 

“Overall, how would you describe your child’s health/issues at present day?”  

Of the 22 respondents who are back home with their kids from Poland after having completed their adoption using St. Mary’s: 

  • 70% said “He/She is Doing Very Well”
  • 25% said “He/She is Accelerating Much Faster Than We Thought”
  • 5% said “He/She is Catching Up Slowly”
  • 0% said “My Child is Still Struggling With the Issues Listed in the Referral Info” 


Child adoption referral process



The last question of our adoption survey was: 

Please give advice for future adoptive parents in regards to the referral process?

Below is their comments to this question.  

Again, these comments are not written by Saint Mary International Adoptions, and they are not the opinion of Saint Mary International Adoptions.  They are the comments of the 22 respondents who participated in the survey.  The respondents are real adoptive parents that have completed the entire Polish adoption process through Saint Mary International Adoptions. 

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