Monday, January 30, 2006

Considering Adopting A Baby

Having my son put a tremendous strain on my body. It is so odd because I was in such great physical shape before my son was born. I had never had more than strep throat, but the year since his birth has made me feel as if I live in the doctor's office. I have had test after test, and the medical bills are piling up.

Still my husband and I would like to have more children, and lately we have turned our attention to adoption. My husband has two brothers, both of whom are adopted. Their situation has not been entirely pleasant, and it is one that we do not want to duplicate. Still we believe, as I am sure most parents do, that we can provide a wonderful home that will overcome all of the problems that we could face if we are considering adopting.

The process is daunting, however. We have learned from our research about the basics of what will be expected of us and what we will have to do to make this situation work for us. The first step in adopting is to be absolutely sure that it is what you want to do. There should be no agreeing to appease your spouse. There should be no indecision. This decision is serious. Unlike having a biological baby (which you also should do only after careful consideration), adopting a baby can come with a whole host of problems that you did not anticipate. For example, you are more likely to get a baby with physical problems or with emotional problems for which you may not have been prepared. That means that you can have no doubt in your mind about your decision, or you will discover that you may regret your decision later, which will be harmful to everyone involved in the process.

Talk to people who are adopted and who have adopted children. You also may want to talk to people who gave their babies up for adoption. Get a feel for the emotions involved. Find out what worked out well and what did not.

Once you have decided that you definitely want to adopt a baby, then you will need to look at your options. There are four basic options for adopting a baby. You can go through an international adoption agency. These agencies are very expensive, usually up to $20,000, and you have to meet the international adopting country's guidelines, which vary in intensity. These adoptions are final, however, and that makes them appealing to many people. You will not have to consider a relationship with a birth family because in most cases, no one will know who the birth parents are.

If you are going for a domestic adoption, you can go through an adoption attorney, a private agency, or social services. You will use an adoption agency if someone is willing to give you her baby. These cases happen when a younger relative or perhaps a young girl you know gets pregnant and cannot care for the baby. In these cases, she may ask you specifically to adopt the baby, and your attorney will help you navigate the court process.

Private agencies typically are religiously affiliated. They have care of children through a number of means. Many of these agencies sponsor group homes for children who have not found adoptive parents. Social services takes in children from abusive and neglectful situations and places them for adoption. Both of these groups will require background checks, including checks into your credit, as well as inspecting your home and interviewing you to see if you are qualified to adopt.

Though the process is lengthy, it is one that thousands of parents are willing to go through every year to be able to become parents to children who need them. The process is one that my husband and I are considering. We know that there are risks involved, but they are there with bringing any new baby into your home. We are willing to take that risk so that we may become parents to a little boy or girl who really needs us and who we can love for the rest of our lives.

By Julia Mercer

No comments: