Thursday, December 29, 2005

Road To Adoption

If your family is thinking about adding a new addition, congratulations! It is a tough decision to make but one that can reward your life immeasurably. Adopting a baby is one choice for many couples, whether through necessity or desire. If you are thinking about adopting a baby, here a rough outline of what you can expect.

First, you must be in it together. You need to think, consult, pray, or use whatever you do to make tough decisions. If you will be a single parent, think about the consequences of your actions. Do you have a support system in place? If you will be making the decision as part of a couple, then be sure that both of you are on the same page.

Once you have decided to adopt a baby, your first step in the process will learning. You will need to learn about the various types of adoption, the hurdles you may face, and what will be expected of you. The decision of whether to seek a domestic or international adoption is one of the first ones you will encounter. Domestic adoptions are far less expensive. People who opt for international adoptions do so for a number of reasons. One huge reason is that they are more likely to adopt an infant as opposed to a toddler or young child. In addition, these adoptions are final, and many parents are afraid of the horror stories they have heard about domestic adoptions gone awry.

If you go with an international adoption, then you should seek out federal agencies that can help you. Many countries, like China, send so many children to loving families in the United States that their adoption process for Americans is fairly standardized and easy to navigate. Still, you should expect a minimum of 18 months before you will bring home your baby.

Going the domestic adoption route means deciding between state agencies and private agencies, or using an adoption attorney. The attorney works if you know someone who is having a baby and giving it up, such as a teen girl. The attorney can draw up papers, and you will petition the court to become the baby's parents. State agencies placed children who are in foster homes because they were neglected, abandoned, or abused. A private agency takes on responsibility for babies whose mothers have given them up. These agencies find suitable homes for the children.

After you make these decisions, you will begin the application process, which can be lengthy. In most cases, you will be required to show that you have the income to support a child and that you have a suitable home for a child. The home visits will take place over several weeks, or even months, and you will need to demonstrate your ability to care for a child. If you get frustrated during this process, then think of the smiling infant awaiting you at the end of this process.

You also may have to get referrals, especially if you go through a private agency. You will need letters from friends, family, and possibly even co-workers that attest to your ability to care for a baby that you may adopt. In addition, you will have to provide originals of your birth certificates, marriage certificate, and possibly even medical records to prove that you are in good health. Be sure that you provide extensive documentation for any medical questions or other concerns. Being thorough help here as you will be able to show that you are a fit parent.

After you make it through the application process, you will wait on your new child. The wait depends on many factors, including the children available in your area, as well as your own desires. If you want a newborn, for example, the wait will be longer. If you want a child without any physical conditions, you may be in for a longer wait. Just know that in the end, it will be worth it. Once you find out about a child that you will be able to adopt, you can begin planning for that glorious day when you will bring your child home to her or his own room and make this new addition a welcome part of your family!

By Julia Mercer

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