There aren't many people who would claim that adoption is an easy process; there's no denying that it is often a long and hard road. Knowing what you're getting into can help make the process easier. Read on to learn the basics about the infant adoption process.
Choose Your Adoption Type
The first step in an infant adoption is to decide what kind of adoption you want to have. Even if you know you want to pursue an infant adoption, there are still several options to choose from. You can adopt internationally from another country, or domestically from the United States. Infant adoptions are possible through the state foster system or can be done privately via an adoption facilitator, adoption agency, or family attorney.
Another important decision is whether you want to take part in an open, semi-open, or closed adoption. In some cases, this decision is not actually made until a connection has been made with the birthmother, but it's good to have an idea about your preference.
Once you have an idea of the type of adoption you would like to have, that will inform the type of adoption professional you will need to contact. You may want to consider using an adoption agency or adoption facilitator, or you may seek out a family attorney if you have found a birthmother on your own.
After you have found the adoption professional you want to work with, from there you can have an idea of the requirements you need to fulfill. These requirements may vary by the adoption agency or facilitator you're working with, and your state may have specific requirements as well. Common requirements you may need to fulfill are:
- Home Study: This is the most nerve-wracking requirement for many adoptive parents, but it's important to know your home does not need to be perfect to pass a home study. The requirements vary by state, but in most cases the inspector is looking for safety items, such as working smoke detectors, secured medications, and covered outlets.
- Questionnaires: Many adoption agencies and facilitators require adoptive families and birthmothers alike to fill out extensive questionnaires to help ensure successful connections.
- Adoption Profiles: In order to introduce yourself to potential birthmothers, you will most likely be asked to create an adoptive family profile. These documents are a few pages long, with a mix of text and images that explains a little about your lifestyle and what your hopes are for life with your future child.
Then we have the hardest step: the waiting. After you've completed all of your adoption professional requirements, there is usually a few months or more of waiting until the right birthmother can be connected up with you. Once you have been connected with a birthmother, you will need to decide how you will communicate.
Some popular communication options are phone calls, which are often supervised or moderated at first, and secure emails. After initial communication has gone well, some birthmothers may choose to meet in person. This communication should continue up until the child is born. Depending on how the communication has gone and the birthmother's preferences, some adoptive parents are able to be in the hospital room when the child is born.
After the child is born, the adoption must be finalized. If the child is born in a different state than where you will be living, you will need to file an ICPC with both states. Your state or agency may require one or more post-placement visits, where an official will come to your home to see how you are adjusting. The last step will be the finalization hearing, where a judge will grant you custody of the child and remove the birthmother's parental rights.