The decision to adopt a child is a large and oftentimes difficult one. There are many factors to take into consideration, and a lot of planning and legal issues that must be handled. However, adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences that a family can have. Here are seven quick facts about how to go about the domestic adoption process and what it looks like.
When thinking of adoption, many families think immediately of adopting a child from a different country. However, there are many children in the United States who are available for adoption as well as expecting birthmothers waiting to be matched with an adoptive family. When looking into the process, it’s best that your family decide early on whether or not you are looking at an international or domestic adoption, because the process varies.
Domestic adoptions vary in cost; it depends on the needs of the child and the family involved, as well as how far away your family lives from the child, the age, and your family’s living situation. It’s important, when considering children, to consider the true cost of raising a child, including housing, schooling, clothes, etc., to make sure that you can truly offer a good life for a child.
Oftentimes, people hear that domestic adoption takes years and is difficult to do. However, the majority of families wait less than a year. Again, much depends on the situation that both the child and your family are in, and can vary drastically. Be prepared to be flexible and understanding as you work through the entire process.
Possibility of Travel
Be prepared to travel. If the child you are adopting is an infant, you should plan to meet the birth mother prior to the birth, and then stay around after until the child leaves the hospital. If the birth mother lives far away from you, this may complicate matters, so make sure to be prepared financially and with plans at your job to accommodate this.
When you are meeting with the birth mother, it’s also important to obtain details on the medical background of the child. You want to make sure that you are prepared and ready to take on any and all challenges and provide a safe and healthy life for your child. If your adoption will be open, this is less of an issue, as you can generally contact the birth mother when needed for this information down the road.
If the child lives in a state different than yours, it’s important to do your research and make sure you know how the process works. An Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is required when state lines are crossed. While not exceptionally difficult, this document can take more than a week to be approved, so make sure to plan accordingly -- you may need to wait a while in the birth state before traveling home.
Open vs. Closed
When you choose adoption, you’ll be able to choose between an open or closed adoption. This is something that your family and the birth mother will need to agree on ahead of time. Open adoptions allow for varying levels of communication between the birth and adoptive families, while closed adoptions do not.
As you work toward starting your adoption journey, you have plenty of research and learning ahead of you, but these quick facts have given you a bit of a head start. Now go learn more about how you can grow your family with adoption!