Adopting a baby is a tough but rewarding process. From expenses, a slew of decisions and choices, to preparing your home for a baby, there's a lot to think about! Follow these tips for a smooth ride and successful adoption.

1. Create an adoption budget. This well help you plan for definite expenses as well as unexpected costs. Add to your adoption budget for travel, finalization and birthmother expenses. You may even want to factor in a few days off from work for last minute adoption related obligations.

2. Complete your home study early. The home study can take up to four months. Getting it out of the way will save time when it comes time to officially begin the adoption process. Furthermore, most adoption agencies will not work with families who have not completed the adoption home study.

3. Be open minded. Adoption can be a lengthy process. Those who have fewer requirements may be connected with a birthmother quicker. Some things that play into this: being open to any race or gender. Willingness to travel. Willingness to partake in an open or closed adoption. Availability to pick up your baby at a moment’s notice!

4. Prepare for a misconnection. Birthmothers can and do change their minds about placing their baby for adoption. While uncommon, it is not impossible that a birthmother will decide to parent after being connected with an adoptive family!

5. Don’t give up! Per the above tip, stay positive and don’t give up. Should a connection fail, LifeLong Adoptions will continue to focus their energy on finding the birthmother that is right for you. Your dream of parenthood and drive to fulfill it will carry you through.

6. Talk to other adoptive parents. Speaking with people who have already gone through the adoption process can be extremely helpful. It can also be comforting knowing that adoption has been successful for so many families. Other adoptive families can help you understand what to expect and how to cope with unexpected challenges.

7. Be prepared to drop everything at a moment’s notice. Connection or no connection - you never know when a birthmother will need a loving family to adopt her baby. It is not uncommon for LifeLong to receive a call from a woman who is already at the hospital. In these times you may be contacted to pick up your baby that very day!

8. Prepare your baby’s room or nursery. Not only is it a load off your back to have this ready before you get the call that your baby is being born - but it is also a great way to pass the time while waiting for a connection. Focusing your energy on the nursery will help you stay positive and excited throughout your adoption process.

9. Stock up. You can never have too many diapers, bottles or onesies. Stock your baby’s nursery with these essential items ahead of time. You’ll be thankful in the long run that you will have more time to bond with your newborn instead of running out to get diapers!

10. Baby proof the house. This is a long process that is more detailed than you think! It’d be quite the tragedy to find out your birthmother is in labor and you have done nothing to protect your baby from household dangers. Get this out of the way early and you can live care-free and enjoy time with your little one!