Most prospective adoptive parents wonder where to start the adoption process. In fact, there are a number of ways adoptive parents can adopt a child, albeit it nationally or internationally. Whatever choice a couple makes, they should be prepared for a waiting process, which ranges from months to years. International adoptions typically have longer waiting periods and require more paperwork, as well as private attorney fees.
Having an adoption checklist is helpful, as this provides adoptive parents with a starting point for their long-awaited adventure into parenthood.
- Adoptive parents should determine why they want to adopt. The commitment to raise a child is long-term and having a nurturing environment is important. Analyzing one’s parenting skills is also necessary, as the commitment to being a parent requires strength and effective child-rearing skills.
- If a couple is dealing with the emotional and physical trials of infertility, it’s important they acknowledge they are not likely to have biological children. Adoption should never be a second-best option, but simply an alternative method to create and form a loving family.
- Determining parenting limits is important, as some parents have the patience and monetary means to adopt a special needs child, while other adoptive parents prefer a healthy same-race child. When adopting a child from another country, it is important to consider incorporating the child’s cultural background.
- Learn about available adoption programs. Understanding the legal issues surrounding domestic and international adoptions will help couples determine which option is best suited for their individual needs.
- State laws vary, so couples should research what each state requires from adoptive parents before the adoption process can be complete. Some may require extensive applications, forms or parenting classes. Couples should also determine if foster care is right for their circumstances and needs. They should also determine if they want the commitment of an infant adoption or older child.
- The costs involved in adoption can vary, depending upon domestic or international expenses. Every agency has a different structure and fees vary from thousands to more than $40,000. Parents adopting through state systems often do not pay for adoption-related expenses and may qualify for assistance after adoption placement.
- Home study programs are designed to promote honesty and adoptive parents should be honest with themselves. It’s OK for couples to have limitations when adopting a child, but embracing limitations before adoption is best for both the child and couple.
The remainder of this article will be continued in the next blog post.