Dear Mardie,
we recently were contacted by a young woman who is parenting a five-month-old that she can no longer care for.  My husband and I had agreed that we really wanted a newborn but now we are wondering if we should consider this situation.  We’ve been working hard for about 10 months on our adoption and are worried that we may not get another opportunity. What are your thoughts?

This is a scenario that many parents find themselves in when adopting.  Preferences are meant to be a general guide of what you are seeking, but as we wait, sometimes we find those preferences softening a bit.  Often, we also learn that not every situation can be so easily defined either!
I believe that couples need to consider each situation individually, with the acknowledgment that this was not within original preferences.  The conversation needs to be warm and understanding, knowing that either partner may feel more open to accepting broader preferences than they began with.  In fact, I think revisiting original preferences every three to six months is a good idea.  The truth of the matter is that the wait, along with learning more about adoptive parenting, often softens our hearts.
In regards to this specific situation, I remember talking to many parents who adopted a child of three months or older.  Most thought it was the “perfect” situation.  The child was still an infant, was easy to bond with, but was often sleeping mostly through the night!  I remember one parent who told me that she wished she could have had her biological children born at six months old!
My biggest recommendation would be to ensure that you and your husband are in agreement before moving forward. You may wish to travel to meet with the birth parents and the child if you are seriously considering this.  Often this is the best step when evaluating a situation like this.
One thing to keep in mind when adopting a child that is already born is that it eliminates the months of waiting while the birth mother is pregnant.  Also, in most states, birth mother expenses are not allowed since the pregnancy has come and gone.  So in some ways, it is less of a financial and emotional risk.
Keep talking, keep learning about the situation, and remember that your coordinator is always available to help you evaluate a situation in many ways, including something like this.