Adopting a child and becoming part of the adoption community will change your life forever. Your heart will grow in ways you didn’t even know were possible.
As Jean ValJean sings after adopting Cosette in the motion picture Les Miserables,
Suddenly the world
Seems a different place
Somehow full of grace and delight
How was I to know that so much hope was held inside me?
The adoption process is a roller coaster of emotions, paperwork, and love. Although it can seem overwhelming at first, knowledge is power. We hope to empower you with knowledge about the adoption process in this educational tour. With this knowledge you will be better equipped as you decide if adoption is right for you and hopefully get started on fulfilling your dream of adopting a child to love and providing a forever home for this child.
Although every family is unique in their adoption, there are steps to the process, and they often go something like this:
“No matter how motherhood comes to you, it is a miracle.” -Valerie Harper, Adoptive Mother
Adoption may be the perfect choice for your family but we also know that it may not be the best option for every family. As you seek your own answers to the question, “Is adoption right for me?", it's equally important to explore the other side of the question: "Am I right for adoption?"
The next few slides highlight some questions you may want to consider on your journey to parenthood. Keep reading!
Children require unconditional love, financial support, time, and other significant lifestyle commitments that will be necessary in order for parenting to be a success. Your commitment will be tested during the process and during the parenting years but it is so very worth it.
Adoption is a permanent proposition that requires a lifelong commitment by everyone involved. It is extremely important that you adopt for the right reasons.
Ask yourself, deep down do you feel like you are being “forced” to adopt to build your family due to infertility? Do you believe that adoption, as a means to build a family, is "second best"? That adoption is your "last resort" if you want to be able to have children? Do you want to give a child a forever family? Do you want to help a child overcome some of the challenges he or she has faced early in life? Are you willing to be there as a support for the child through thick and thin?
It is common for those new to adoption to start out with narrow expectations of the child they want to adopt, and then to expand their views as the education process proceeds. Experienced adoptive families have found it important for those starting the process to resist the temptation to quickly narrow the group of adoptable children that they would be willing to consider. You may find that by adopting a type of child you hadn’t initially planned to adopt your cup will run over with joy. And remember, don't overlook the possibility of adopting more than one child.
In the following slides, we will talk about domestic infant adoption, foster adoption, and international adoption.
Some of these children may have special needs-- meaning they may be older (grade school through teens); may have a disability or medical condition; or may be brothers and sisters who should be adopted together.
Public agencies--and some private agencies--place children with special needs. In addition, national, regional, and state adoption exchanges will assist in linking prospective parents with these children who are waiting for families.
In many cases, financial assistance in the form of adoption subsidies is available to help parents with the legal, medical, and living costs associated with caring for a child with special needs.
Adoption exchanges, adoption agencies, and heart galleries usually have photolistings and descriptions of children waiting for their forever families.
Adoption exchanges and adoption agencies usually have photolistings and descriptions of available children in foreign countries.
Since adoption laws in the state where you live will, in most cases, govern your options, it is essential that you know what types of placements are allowed or not allowed by your state's adoption laws, but here’s the skinny on each type of professional service:
Agency adoptions can involve a wide range of adoptable children, depending on the focus of the agency. Some agencies specialize in the placement of international children, bi-racial children, special needs children, or children of a particular ethnic group. Other agencies may be involved entirely in adoptions involving infants. Some adoption agencies are selective in the type of adoptive couples with whom they will work.
Private agencies are usually licensed by the state but run privately and can assist in most types of adoption. Private agency adoption fees can range from $5,000-$30,000.
In some states, private attorneys cannot be involved in the "finding" and "matching" phases of an adoption, but are limited to finalizing the legal part of the adoption in court once the match has taken place.
In the directory with reviews, you'll be able to search for resources such as agencies, attorneys, counseling, facilitators, organizations, publications, home study providers, and others in your region, and learn what people think of the service they've received from these providers.
Adoption.com can connect you with a home study professional in your area.
Click here to learn more and make a request for contact..
Or browse our Reviews/Directory.
Click here to get started on Adoption.com Parent Profiles℠.
If we look at the nine-month process that is involved when biological children come to their parents, it is easier for us to appreciate how it may be beneficial for hopeful adoptive parents to also "wait" for a period of time for the arrival of their child/children, so that while they are waiting, they will have time to better prepare themselves for the arrival.
There are many things that can go “wrong” but there are so many things that can go “right.” Hold onto hope, support these expectant parents considering adoption no matter what their final decision is, and remember the focus of adoption is the child.
Adoption will change your life forever, adding depth and dimension that you may not even be able to imagine right now.
“Having kids - the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings - is the biggest job anyone can embark on. As with any risk, you have to take a leap of faith and ask lots of wonderful people for their help and guidance. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to parent.” ―Maria Shriver, Journalist and News Anchor
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AUTHOR / Sandra Hanks Benoiton
Sandra Hanks Benoiton is a mom, a wife, a writer, and an adoption advocate. She lives in the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles with her husband, Mark and their children, Sam and Cj, and has two grown kids and a granddaughter in the US. In addition to adoption-related work, Sandra is a speechwriter and contributes articles to publications worldwide.