Having children is often a number one life goal for many people, however, nature and circumstances don’t often allow our lives to go the way we envisage. If you’re unable to have children or would prefer to give a loving home to a disadvantaged child, adoption is an amazing route to go down. However, it is not always easy and can come with some sleepless nights and a few tears, but the end result far outweighs the emotional whirlwind. Read on to find out what to expect along the way.
1. Understand The Routes
There are three main routes into becoming an adoptive parent in the USA. The first is Fostering to Adopt, the second is Private Infant Adoption and the third is International Adoption. All come with their own pros and cons outlined below.
Private Infant Adoption – Private Infant Adoption is usually undertaken by an adoption agency and is often a chance for unborn children to be placed in a home as soon as the birth mother has given birth. You will need a dedicated legal service to help you draw up the terms of the adoption, so look for a business such as Utah family law attorneys to assist you through the legal minefield.
Fostering to Adopt – This is one of the more common routes in America, as it is considered slightly easier and also places fostered children into a forever home. This approach means adoption agencies focus on the child and find a home suitable to their needs and wants, rather than concentrating on the adopting family’s criteria. Also, for that, a foster parent must have completed all the necessary paperwork that would be required of any other parent for adopting a child. If you’re interested in the Foster to Adopt route, it is important to be open-minded when it comes to fostering as you would need to foster the child and care for them in your home before you have the opportunity to adopt them.
International Adoption – International adoption is becoming less frequent in the USA as it involves many more legal hoops to jump through. Each country has its own rules for prospective adoptive families so it is important to get to grips with the child’s home country and its regulations.
2. Know There Is A Ton Of Paperwork Involved
If you don’t like filling out endless forms you’d better change your tune if you’re thinking of adopting. Even in the beginning application stages, there are lots and lots of forms to fill out and paperwork to perfect. be aware that these are often legally binding, so be 100% honest and truthful, for the sake of you and the adopted child.
3. Be Open
Many a time, prospective adoptive parents wish for a tiny newborn, with no strings attached, however for most children that need to be adopted, this is not the case. If you’re looking to adopt, be open to a variety of children that are different ages and from a variety of backgrounds. Often there are siblings out there that would be better adopted together, if you have room in your home and hearts, consider adopting more than one child from the same family, it may benefit your new child.
Children who are without their own loving parents have likely experienced some trauma and possibly abuse. You need to think about whether you can cope with a disruptive or difficult child who may be carrying some emotional scars, and what you can offer them in terms of a better life.
4. Understand The Home Study
Any route into adoption requires a home study, in which a caseworker from a foster or adoption agency will visit your home to see if it fits the needs of a new child. These studies can take months of visits and meetings with your caseworker where they will inspect your home and your family. Be prepared for deep and often intrusive questions about your routines, your work, your income, and your home life. It is their job to put the child’s needs first, and their priority is making sure the child will have a happy, loving home that is right for them.
5. Be Prepared To Negotiate The Adoption Terms
There is no requirement by law on how ‘open’ an adoption should be. Your child will quite rightly be curious about their origins and their birth family, no matter how much you may try and stop them. Even if you opt for a closed adoption, when the child turns 18, they will be able to access some information about where they came from before they were adopted. With the rise of social media, it is easier than ever to find people online and so your child may end up discovering who their birth parents are regardless. Nowadays, many people choose a somewhat open adoption that involves gifts or letters on birthdays, and some even maintain closer communication with phone calls and visits. This is a deeply personal choice, so only choose what you feel comfortable with, along with the birth parents if you choose a Private Adoption.
6. Understand The Costs
While Foster to Adopt arrangements are generally free, Private and International Adoptions can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. There are grants and benefits available to families who want to offer a good home to a child but can’t necessarily afford the $20,000- $50,000 price tag. Not only can the adoption process be expensive, it is also important to consider the costs of raising a child. Loving your child is the number one priority, but offering them a comfortable lifestyle is also vital to adoption. many children who need to be adopted come from disadvantaged and underprivileged lifestyles and could be one of the reasons they need adopting, to begin with. Ensure that your income allows for another mouth to feed, new school uniforms, and their own bed to sleep in.
Whilst adoption is a beautiful thing and can be an incredible offering for a child, it is not for everyone. If you have successfully adopted a child, why not refer an organization that run adopt a family program or share your experience in the comments to inspire and help other families through their adopting journey?