Are you considering adopting, but running barriers through your head that you just can’t shake? I did, too, but none of my fears were actual realities. Here are some “obstacles” that make some families think twice before even trying to get approved for adoption—and the reasons you shouldn’t worry about them.*
Money. You’ve heard about how expensive adoption can be, right? Especially international adoption. Financial considerations can stop potentially great parents from even beginning the adoption process. While you do have to make sure you can afford to take care of your child or children, please don’t let the overwhelming costs of adoption stop you from taking that first step. Never underestimate the power of families, friends, churches, bank loans, and creative funding ideas!
When we first began the process fifteen years ago, we researched international adoption and had no idea where the money was going to come from. We had heard that in our specific situation, we could be looking at almost $30,000, and with no significant savings, we were clueless as to how we could ever afford it. However, with the support of our church family, relatives, and friends, plus our own fundraising efforts, we did it! We never even had to take out a loan. Remember, too, as you consider financing your adoption: The fees and costs as obstacles come in stages and over time. No one reputable is going to ask you to write out a check for the total cost of the adoption upfront. Often no one even knows for sure what the total is going to be.
Credit history. For some, the credit history concern may go hand-in-hand with the money issue. While I cannot speak for every agency or situation, I can tell you that nobody once checked our credit scores during the adoption process. Again, you should certainly make sure you can afford to have an addition to your family, but don’t let credit woes stop you from providing a child with a good home. As one of the obstacles, be sure to check this out with your circumstance.
Mental health history. One question you’re going to face is whether or not you or your spouse has ever seen a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor. Obviously being mentally healthy is a major component of being a successful, high-functioning parent. However, most home study providers just want to know if you’re capable of creating a wonderful environment for a child. If you’ve seen a mental health provider, they will likely just ask you to provide a doctor’s letter regarding your fitness as a parent or what kind of diagnosis and/or treatment you received, and how long ago it was.
Divorces. This may vary per state or agency, but generally speaking, you can have up to two divorces (or three marriages) per parent. Of course, your current marriage will be evaluated by the home study provider to make sure your home is a stable one, but don’t think that because you’ve been divorced a couple of times that you’ll be dismissed as a potentially unfit parent!
Pets. I’m a real pet lover and when we adopted, I had rescued several pets, including some exotic pets. I was terrified the agency would take one look at my little “farm” and run! But thankfully, this was not the case at all. As long as rabies shots are current and the pets are clean and do not pose a threat to people, this should not be an issue.
These are just some of the issues you may be worried about going forward. If there are other concerns, such as criminal background checks, parental age(s), single parenthood, same-sex couples, etc., check with your state or agency or do some online research regarding your situation. The bottom line is this: Be truthful and forthcoming during home studies and never let your own worries stop you before you’ve even started. What you think are huge obstacles or show-stopping roadblocks may not even be an issue with the state or agency when evaluating your fitness as a parent. Stay positive and hopeful! You really don’t know until you try.
*Note: These may vary depending on the state or agency.
Do you feel there is a hole in your heart that can only be filled by a child? We’ve helped complete 32,000+ adoptions. We would love to help you through your adoption journey. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.