Many hopeful adoptive parents have an idea of the type of child they would like to parent. Pink, giggling babies floating in blue clouds of blankets fill our heads, along with the lollipops and mobiles we will fill their nurseries with.
Yet, recent trends make us wary of dreaming. We hear of the high numbers of school-aged children in foster care, and the glut of parents waiting for newborns. It gives you a reason to be concerned. Are there actually infants available for adoption?
Let’s take a look.
Foster Care Infants Available For Adoption
Foster care is becoming an increasingly popular way to adopt. It is certainly the least expensive. In many cases, adopting from foster care is absolutely free or less than $3,000. States will often cover the legal fees associated with adoption from foster care if you need to pay them. If not, the adoption tax credit of $14,080 per child will more than cover any of your adoption-related expenses, including home studies and court fees.
Most of the children in foster care who are already available for adoption from foster care are toddlers to teenagers with the median age being around 8 years old. However, infants are becoming a growing portion of first-time admissions into the system.
You may be surprised to learn that most of the children who are adopted from foster care are under the age of three. According to the 2017 Children’s Bureau Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System report, almost half of all foster care adoptions are of babies who entered the system before the age of one. The majority (approx. 60 percent) of children in foster care are from minority racial or ethnic groups, and more than approximately 50 percent of them are adopted by their foster parents. Babies under a year old may also be available to be adopted as part of a sibling group.
If your budget or heart is compelling you to adopt a baby from foster care, you will likely have to foster that child before they become available for adoption. Your agency or social worker may be able to help you identify infants who are more likely to become available for adoption in the future. You will be grouped with the foster parents who are hoping to adopt eventually. Your social worker cannot, however, guarantee that birth parent rights will be terminated, or that adoption is certain.
Foster parents are given a monthly stipend to care for the needs of their children. This can range anywhere from $400 to $850 each month and can be used to supply your child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, and child care. Your child may also be available for free healthcare in the form of Medicaid until they are 18 years old. Some states will even provide free education at state-funded institutions to children adopted from foster care.
To become a foster parent or foster-to-adopt parent, you will need to be at least 21 years old, although the actual age requirement varies from state to state. You will need to pass a criminal background check, and provide some kind of proof that you can financially support your own basic needs. You will need to rent or own your own home and have a separate bedroom for your child. You can be married, single, widowed, divorced, or separated. A medical exam is required, as well as an application and home study. Most foster parents also complete some kind of formal training before they can start considering placements. These are usually provided by your agency or social service.
Domestic Infants Available For Adoption
Domestic infant adoption is what most folks think of when they hear the word “adoption.” Many popular agencies throughout the United States bring birth mothers and prospective adoptive families together to provide a loving home for a child who needs one.
Most domestic adoptions are now open. That means that the adoptive parents will have some type of contact with the birth mother throughout the child’s lifetime. This could be something as simple as email updates or texts sent on the child’s birthdays. You may also be able to stay connected on social media. Still, other adoptive parents have very open relationships with birth parents, where there are regular in-person visits and more frequent communication.
To adopt domestically, you will first need to identify an agency you are comfortable working with. There are numerous adoption agencies throughout the country. Some of the most popular is Heart to Heart Adoptions, Spence-Chapin, and Gladney Center for Adoption. Many smaller private agencies also provide excellent service.
You are not required to be married to adopt a child domestically. However, it could take longer for a single person to adopt through a private agency. In general, the wait time for a domestic infant is around two to three years.
To adopt domestically, you will need to fill out an application. The age requirement to adopt varies from state to state. The minimum age is usually somewhere between 21 and 25 years old.
You will have to undergo a background check and complete a home study. Your social worker will visit your home at least once during this process. She is looking to see that your home is orderly and that there is enough room for a child to live comfortably. She is not going to be looking under cushions for dust bunnies!
Your home study is a great time for you to discuss your own upbringing and your philosophy in terms of parenting and discipline. It is also an opportunity for you to share your preferences when it comes to the child you are adopting. Talk honestly about what your family is prepared to deal with in terms of trauma or birth mother substance abuse.
Your profile will likely be submitted to birth mothers along with those of other families. It could take the form of an online slideshow or photo album. Be careful to select photos of great things that set your family apart like pets, sports, or traditions. Your birth mother may be looking for a background that matches her own.
After you are matched with a child, you may have to travel to another state to meet him or her, as well as the birth mother. In some cases, you may even be able to wait in the hospital while your child is being born.
The cost of domestic infant adoption is anywhere from $25,000-$35,000. This includes legal fees, home study fees, birth mother expenses, and travel. You can help defray the cost with the adoption tax credit or by applying for adoption grants. Your employer may also offer assistance for adoption as they would for infertility treatments, so be sure to check with your HR department.
Infants Available For Private Adoption
Private adoption through a lawyer is another way that couples go about adopting an infant. It is easier in these cases to plan a closed adoption, but you may have to do a little more legwork when it comes to locating a birth mother. While your attorney can hold your hand through the process, you may need to place ads in local papers or answer phone calls from prospective birth mothers.
Private adoption is also slightly less expensive than agency adoption at around $20,000 to $30,000. You will have to complete a basic home study through your state and undergo a fingerprint background check. As with other adoption paths, you will need to have a complete physical certifying that you and/or your spouse are healthy enough to parent a child.
Infants Available For Adoption Internationally
Many parents prefer to adopt children internationally because they want to adopt from a particular culture, or because there is no birth parent involvement. International adoption is the most expensive of all adoption options, costing anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 per child. This includes home study fees, legal fees, flights, and the cost of living in another country for a period of time. The adoption tax credit, employer assistance, and adoption grants can all help you offset the cost. Remember that the tax credit is per child, so it will double or triple if you decide to adopt a sibling group.
Some popular international adoption agencies include Hopscotch Adoptions, Spence-Chapin, and All God’s Children International. It is possible to adopt a child under 1 year of age in countries like South Korea or Haiti. In other countries, such as Bulgaria or Ukraine, infants are available only as a part of a sibling group. The most popular country to adopt from, China, now has children available for adoption that average around 2 years of age. They no longer have a lot of infants available.
If you are considering adopting an infant from another country, be sure to have a detailed conversation with your agency before signing with them. Ask about the number of children they have placed in the last year, as well as their ages. Find out if there are any references you can call to inquire about their experience.
You may choose a certain country because it is part of your heritage, or because you are interested in its culture. Adoption travel can be an enriching experience.
International adoption is becoming increasingly more limited. Nations like Latvia, Bulgaria, and Uganda remain popular. In many countries, it is much easier to adopt sibling groups and school-aged children than it is to find infants.
Adopting internationally will require a home study, as well as a criminal background check. Most agencies require some kind of training, although these can sometimes be completed online. You will likely have to learn about special disciplinary techniques, as well as what to expect during your trip abroad and your first few months home.
International adoption can take anywhere from two to five years in total, depending upon your preferences. Some countries require more than one trip before you can complete your adoption. Be sure to pack for lots of walking. Remember to bring something more formal for court dates.
Some couples like to learn the language of the country they are visiting before they travel. Programs like Rosetta Stone can go a long way toward preparing you for your trip. It is important to make a good impression by dressing and acting respectfully while you are abroad.
The requirements to adopt are different in each country. Most have a minimum and maximum age requirement. For example, you may need to be more than 20 and less than 40 years older than the child you are planning to adopt. Most countries will require proof that you can financially support a child. As with all adoptions, you will also have to supply at least three references who are not relatives.
Infants Available For Adoption
While it may take a little time for you to find the right one, there are infants available for adoption all over the world. With a lot of homework, a little patience, and bundles of love, you will have a baby in your arms sooner than you dreamed possible.
Are you ready to pursue adoption? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to connect with compassionate, nonjudgmental adoption specialists who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.