What Is Adoption? Where to Begin If You Are Considering Adopting A Child

by Jane Travis

What is adoption

Adoption is a very responsible step that requires plenty of time, energy, and – depending on options – finances. Trying to adopt, you will likely encounter numerous emotional challenges and legal roadblocks that will make the entire adoption process long and stressful. However, these pitfalls will begin to subside after you get all these papers signed and everything established.

Once your adopted child enters the house, you will realize all the effort will be worth it. You will forget about taxing moments and awkward thoughts that used to preoccupy you. But to succeed in your adoption journey, you should complete several crucial steps to help you assess yourself, decide on an adoption professional team, and complete a full-fledged home study. Here are the essential aspects to consider if you are considering adopting a child.

What Is Adoption?

Adoption is a process in which children become permanent and, above all, legal members of another family. Before starting the adoption process, you must be sure what your motivations and reasons are. Not only does adoption involve completing legal steps, but it also involves social and emotional aspects. Try to identify your intentions, takes, and limits. Write down what motivates you, why you want to adopt, why you will be a outstanding parent(s), and what difficulties you may face along the way. Since it is a lifelong decision, there is no place for mistakes and impulsive decisions.

Answering Crucial Questions

Posing critical questions will help you discover important elements related to adoptions. One good way to do this is to read about other people’s experiences and the relevant literature on adoption. Also, answering the following questions might help:

How quickly can I adopt a child?

Usually, adoptions are very time consuming. Adoptions involve a group of people, often called the “adoption constellation”. You, your partner, and birth parents will be part of this legal process, which may last for several months and even years.

Do I prioritize a particular age category, such as infants, or can I adopt an older child or several children?

It is crucial to weigh in as many options as possible, as they will help you determine whether you are ready to adopt and how many children you are ready for. Lots of options are available, but they require a serious approach and meticulous analysis.

Can/Do I want to adopt and foster a special needs child?

Adopting a child with special needs is a serious and possibly life-changing decision. Self-assessment is key. Do you have the financial resources? And the ability to handle the physical and emotional challenges? If you are considering this option, you might want to learn more from other families who have been through it.

Evaluating Your Paths To Adoption

There are three possible ways to adopt a child. Many factors determine which path is right for you. The United States currently offers the three following adoption paths:

  • Foster Adoption: Foster care provides nearly half a million children that are looking for adoptive parents. The primary purpose is to reunite such kids with their birth parents. But since numerous children are registered in the system because of neglect, physical abuse, and similar issues, many people have succeeded in adopting such children.
  • Private/Independent Adoption: Here, you have several options: turning to an adoption office or reaching out to a private attorney specializing in adoption. An adoption agency will do all the work for you, starting from looking for certain birth parents and arranging interviews and ending with finding relevant papers and filing them out. In turn, if you choose a lawyer, you will have to complete much of the adoption process (aside from legal procedures) by yourself. This method is the best for adoptive families ready to spend plenty of time and fully participate in adoption.
  • International Adoption: Looking for children located outside the U.S. is highly complicated and time-consuming. Many countries have banned adoption programs or made them nearly impossible to participate in. Even if available, the authorities will fully screen you based on your financial, marital, and social status, orientation, education, and even weight and height.

It is imperative to research these options and become aware of their nuts and bolts. Ask yourself whether you have fully explored them. Carefully evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each option. Talk with your family about them and listen to valid opinions. The decision-making process is very hard. You have to realize that and consider every possible barrier and ways to overcome it.

Getting Ready For The Home Study In Advance

Your home study is an integral part of the adoption process. You might even consider preparing for it long before adopting a child. Every state has a unique statute that allows them to carry out background investigations of adoptive parents and people residing in the household. Investigators explore:

  • Criminal records, including fingerprints in various databases
  • Records or signs of any child abuse
  • Criminal records of anyone living in the same household and/or being a caregiver, guardian, or family member.

Also, depending on a state, the respective authorities can check:

  • State sex offender registries
  • Adult protective services records
  • Juvenile court records
  • Records of incidents of domestic violence

Besides screening your records, a home study aims to instruct you and improve your knowledge on parenting so that you are ready to become a good parent. By default, such a study lasts six months and can be extended: caseworkers will be allowed to visit your household at any time without informing you. Also, medical workers will analyze your mental state. Investigators will peruse your income, insurance, and many other aspects to ensure you are the perfect match.

Preparing for The Costs of Adoption

Adoption can be expensive. Depending on your chosen path, costs vary. Foster care adoption involves very little expense because of Federal and State adoption assistance. Many programs minimize the financial load on adoptive families to encourage the latter to adopt children from foster care. Estimated costs are around $2,000 for each adoptive placement.

When it comes to private adoption, the costs can surge exponentially, fluctuating from $20,000 to $45,000. This is partly explained because you will be working with children and birth parents placed outside the public child welfare system. Extra costs often involve adoption advertising and other related fees.

This is similar situation to independent adoption. Because it also works outside the public child welfare system, such adoption costs can range from $15,000 to $40,000.

In turn, international adoption is considered the most expensive type of adoption, as escort fees, medical care and treatment for children, translation fees, foreign attorneys, visa processing, health checkups, and counseling and support after the placement are included and vary. On average, international adoption can cost up to $50,000.

The Bottom Line

The adoption process can be a long and tough road, full of emotional and financial challenges. There is much to consider and you will want to think long and hard in order to make the right choices for your family along the way. If you are considering adoption, continue to do your research and explore other articles and resources. Keep at it! When you finally have completed your adoption, you will know it was all worth it.