From Hollywood superstars to everyday couples, adoption is increasingly becoming an attractive prospect for people struggling with infertility, however adoption is not only limited to couples who are biologically unable to bear children. Children are given up for adoption by people from all walks of life, even married couples (as this great post to read discusses,) some people simply want to provide a loving home for these children whose biological parents are unable to keep them.

Before embarking on a life-changing decision to adopt a new bundle of joy, let’s walk through a few important points about the adoption process.    

  1. Adoption Eligibility Requirements May Vary 

In the US, domestic and international adoption requirements vary from state to state but generally, prospective parents should be 21 years or older. This may not be true for other countries so people who are looking to adopt should do their research.

Most US states require additional documents to validate medical and emotional health, as well as a background check, to ensure the adoptive child’s safety in the hands of his or her adoptive parents.

  1. There Are Different Adoption Types And Costs

Whether you’re dealing with infertility issues, or simply wanting to provide a home to a child in need, you’ll need to understand the costs involved before moving forward with adoption. 

The length of time, costs, and requirements for adoption vary depending on which type of adoption you wish to pursue. There are five major types of adoption:    

  1. Second parent adoption– This is typically done by a step parent of the child in question, and the process will not impact the status or parental rights of the first parent.   
  2. Adoption from foster care– This process entails the adoption of children who have been placed in the custody of the state or local foster care institution. The adoption process is completed by a public or private agency contracted by a foster care agency. 
  3. Domestic private adoption– As the name implies, this process is supervised by a private adoption agency.
  4. International adoption- This involves adopting a child from another country.    
  5. Independent adoption- Also known as private adoption, this process involves an attorney or adoption counselor completing the negotiations. 

While adoption of a child from foster care may be free in some instances, other types of adoption have accompanying costs that can reach up to $60,000 in the US, some Foundations provide adoption grants for prospective parents. 

  1. Choosing The Right Agency Is Key

Those wishing to adopt should look for an agency with expertise, experience and most importantly, an agency with values that match their preferences.   

You can either choose a public or private agency, and there are benefits and downsides in hiring either. Generally speaking, public agencies charge minimal fees, and are more flexible in eligibility requirements, however they typically place children originating from foster care. If you’re seeking a different type of adoption, consider private institutions which charge higher fees but have a wider range of services available.    

  1. Adoption Will Take Time 

Once you’ve been approved as an adoptive parent and completed all classes and requirements, a social worker will start the search for the perfect child to be placed in your family. 

Ensure that you keep in touch with your agency, regularly. Additionally, make the search easier by checking photo listings, attending matching parties, and updating your parent profile.

 Find out how agencies matching processes work, and ask whether they’re willing to be flexible in expanding their search to include nearby states, if this is something you’re open to.  

  1. Learning About The Child Is Essential    

Once a potential match is presented, learn more about the child’s status, special needs (if any), and history. Discover his or her educational background, parents, foster care history, and connections with family and siblings. You may also want to determine if there were pre-natal issues such as the biological mother’s drug and alcohol abuse during pregnancy.

  1. Adoption Can Be A Long Process

When you’ve found your match and the child is successfully placed in your home, the real adoption process starts. 

You’ll assume temporary custody and the agency will monitor you and the child anywhere from a few months to a year. Monitoring means that the agency will visit and interview you and your child periodically to see how everything is going. If you get a favorable evaluation, the agency will approve the adoption process and everything will be finalized.

The Bottom Line 

Adoption can be a daunting process but choosing the right agency will make it less complicated. If you want to provide a loving home to a child, make sure you’re emotionally, psychologically, and physically prepared to face all the challenges that come with raising a child.