The adoption of an infant is absolutely nothing new. Infant adoption has gone on officially and unofficially since the beginning of time. Adoption of a baby is still a great way to start a family today.
The process of adoption varies from state to state and country to country. Be sure to find out all of the requirements for your state before proceeding with the adoption process. The same is true if you are looking at adopting a child from another country — rules vary widely, so it's best to know what you're getting into.
Many families anticipate that adoption is the answer to their financial woes in terms of adding to their family. But adoption of any sort is likely to cost you a lot of money for the legal proceedings, home studies, and other expenses that are likely to come up. According to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC), a domestic, private adoption can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $30,000.
Adoption means that you and your partner agree to legally become parents of a child that is being given up by his or her birth parent(s). The ages and abilities of children up for adoption will vary widely. You may be limited on whom you can adopt based on what you and your spouse can offer according to a home study (an analysis done by an adoption agency that determines your readiness to adopt).
You may or may not know the parent(s) of the child being placed for adoption. You may or may not ever have contact with them. Sometimes this decision is up to you. Sometimes this decision is totally up to the birth parent(s).Getting Ready
You will have to open your lives to the courts and adoption services agencies. They will look at every part of your lives. A state-sponsored agency first performs a home study. Your lives and home are scrutinized closely to ensure that you are prepared and your home is suitable for bringing a child into. This can be a very stressful and unsettling time in your life. Even if you decide to adopt from another country, you will need to do a home study.
The rates of adoptions vary widely depending on region, ethnicity, age, and so on. The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC) maintains statistics on adoption:
Talk to other parents who have become a family through adoption. Join a support group. Talk about issues specific to adoption. The emotional ramifications are great, and you and your partner may not agree on many issues. Again communication about these issues is very important. For some families, the lack of a genetic link to a child is something that they cannot get past. Make sure you are comfortable with this aspect as this is a central point of adoption.
Find out what you need to know about adoption in your area. Talk to your spouse and your fertility center. You can get referrals for different types of adoption, including the adoption of older children, special needs children, and so on.Agency Adoption
Most states have a state-run adoption agency or organization. This is probably the most well-known method of adoption. The benefits of using an agency are that they have more experience and oversight of the process than many of the independent adoptions. They are very familiar with the procedural aspects of adoption. The downfall may be the length of the waiting list to adopt a baby, particularly healthy newborns.Independent Adoption
If you find that the waiting lists in your area are long, you can try to get involved in independent adoptions. This is a bit more time consuming but may be a faster way to adoption than other methods, though not always and not without cost. This means that you and your partner advertise that you are looking to adopt a baby. You will typically work with a lawyer or an adoption agency to help you find a birth mother, which is usually done prior to the birth of the baby.
Some agencies or lawyers will place ads looking for mothers who are interested in placing their babies for adoptions. Other groups work solely with agencies that run homes for teens or other unwed mothers. The mothers are found by the agency or lawyer, and you are introduced to them by way of a letter and/or photo of your family, explaining why you wish to adopt a baby.
The truth is healthy infants are hard to find for adoption. You may hit stumbling blocks in trying to adopt special-needs infants or children. You may run into the same difficulties in interracial adoption as well.Adopting Out of the Country
Many people are choosing out of country adoption for a variety of reasons. In 1999, the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC) estimated that U.S. citizens adopted 16,396 foreign-born children. But it's not necessarily faster, cheaper, or fraught with any less red tape.
Many couples are finding out that adoption from out of the country poses its own risks and problems. From visas to fears of disease, the emotional and financial strain of international adoption is great. This is not to say it is impossible, because these hurdles are true of most forms of adoption. But be prepared and know the process by talking to other families who have experienced the same thing.
Adoption can be a great option for building your family. While it does not involve the physical pain of fertility treatments, it is still a source of financial and emotional strain. The good news is that adoption from all sources is a great way to bring you together with a baby to help build your family.