When you are considering adopting a baby, there are a number of ways you can go about the process. The first, and least expensive, way to adopt a baby is to go through social services in your area. You will contact the social services or family services group in your area and explain that you are considering adopting. They will interview you and send you through a series of classes. These classes are little seminars that are intended to help you understand the emotional and behavioral issues you may encounter with adoption. Some of this information will not be helpful if you are looking to adopt an infant. Other information will be important later, such as how to deal with birth parents.
Then you will go through the home study process. In this part of the adoption process, a social worker will come in and inspect your home. Now keep in mind that this person is checking out safety issues. If there are building code violations or filth, for example, then you will not pass. This person is not checking out how much money you have. The size of your home is important only in that you must have enough space for a child to live. Some states require that the child will have his or her own bedroom. Others require that they have their own bed but may share a room with another child.
Once you have passed through the courses and the home study, then you will be approved and placed on the list to adopt. During this process, you will be able to share with the social worker assigned to you the type of baby you want. You may want to specify race or sex as many adoptive parents do. You also may want to indicate whether or not you will take a child with handicaps or how old of a baby you are willing to adopt. Keep in mind that your parameters determine how long you will wait. The longest waits are for newborn white males without any health problems, but you can get an infant much sooner if you loosen your requirements.
The second option is to go through a private agency to get a newborn in the United States. You have a much better chance with this choice of getting a baby who does not have health problems. Many of the birth mothers who go through these programs are young girls who got pregnant and are unable to keep their babies. Often, with these agencies, the birth mother will get to meet you and may even select you from your picture and a letter you write. If you do not want to have contact with the birth mother, you need to be very selective in picking your agency. These agencies are very expensive, but you will be more likely to get a newborn as many of the mothers know that they are going to give their babies up for adoption before the baby arrives.
The third major choice is to use a private agency but to adopt a child outside the United States. These agencies are pricy as well, but there is not a huge difference in cost between these agencies and private agencies with domestic adoptions. You will have less say in the child you adopt through these systems. In some countries, such as Guatemala, most babies are sent out for adoption by the time they are six months old. That means that while you will not have a newborn, you will have a baby to hold in your arms. Many parents like the fact that they will not have to deal with birth family issues through international adoptions.
The decision to adopt an infant is an important one, and you should be sure to make this decision after careful deliberation. After all, you are deciding to add a new person to your family, and you will live with the joys and trials of this decision for the rest of your life. Be sure that you ask questions and that you are clear about your expectations. Speak up because you are creating a family. Make the right decision, and you will have a life of love.
By Julia Mercer