Once you have made the decision to adopt a child, you should know all the options that are available to you and some facts to consider about them. Many options are available to prospective parents, both domestically and abroad, according to the University of Michigan Health System. The adoption process can take a long time, up to a year or even longer. It is best to take some time to explore all of your adoption options before you make your final decision.
Before you start exploring your options, it is a good idea to ask yourself and your partner some key questions. This will help you in the adoption process, according to the University of Michigan Health System. It is very important that you and your partner both want to adopt. It is not a good idea to start this procedure in the hopes that your partner will warm up to the idea after you’ve already set it in motion. Consider if you would adopt a child or if only an infant will do. Think about how you will feel about not being related to the child. Will you want to know the child’s genetic background? Will you adopt a child who is a different race than you are? Also, decide how much you are able to spend on an adoption.
Infant or Child?
Think about if you want to adopt a child or an infant. Realize that the more restrictive you are, the longer your wait could be. If you want to adopt an infant who is the same ethnicity that you are, you may have to wait two years or more, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Also, criteria for adopting an infant is usually greater and more restrictive than it is for adopting a child.
You may want to consider adopting a child or children who are in foster care. You would typically go through you local Department of Social Services for this type of adoption. Be aware that foster children have often been abused or neglected, which why they are in foster care. These children may have special physical or emotional needs as a result. Often, these children are older and wish to be adopted with their siblings. If you adopt a foster child through a public agency, it is usually free or very low cost.
With a domestic adoption, you can choose between a licensed private agency adoption, an independent adoption or an unlicensed agency adoption. With a licensed private agency adoption, parents give up their rights to the agency. Social workers from the agency will match a child with prospective parents. In an independent adoption, you will interact with the birth mother or her attorney. Expenses for this type of adoption are unpredictable, and not all states allow this type of adoption. Check with your state adoption specialist for particulars where you live. Unlicensed adoption agencies offer the least amount of oversight. With this type, you will work with an adoption facilitator who will link prospective parents with a birth mother for a fee. Since these facilitators are unregulated, you will have little recourse should the adoption not work out. Some states do not allow this practice. Check with your state adoption specialist to see if this type of adoption is allowed in your state. Agency and independent adoptions can cost between $5,000 and $40,000, as of 2010, according to Adoption.com.
Inter-country adoptions are usually more expensive than domestic adoptions are. But they are more predictable, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. That’s because in order for children to be an orphan and eligible for adoption, many countries require that the birth parents either be dead or have “abandoned” the child. This eliminates the birth mother changing her mind, as can happen with a domestic adoption. While the prospective parents are matched with a child, families will often be able to review the child’s information before they make a decision. You must be prepared to make one or multiple trips to the child’s country. It is a good idea to choose a licensed and knowledgeable organization for an inter-country adoption. These types of adoptions can cost from $7,000 to $30,000, as of 2010, according to Adoption.com.