Preparing for Adoption
Adding a new baby to your life, biological or adopted, is a major decision and one that should be considered from all possible angles and aspects before a decision is made. If adoption is right for your family you will only know it after you have studied and analyzed the situation long and hard, talked with all family members involved, and come up with some answers. Deciding on adoption without analyzing every possible detail you can imagine could have catastrophic effects on the child, your spouse, and any other children you may have. Once you have made the decision to go ahead with adoption, there are several things you should keep in mind.
The first thing you should do is make a plan that includes the traits of birth parents, type of child wanted, domestic or international adoption, budget, and how you will proceed with adoption plans.
While this may not be the first detail that pops into your head when you consider adopting it is very important because the birth parents will reflect what type of child you adopt. So, write down the characteristics important to you which might include ethnicity, age, education level, eye or hair color, and any other traits that are truly important to you. While most people would like the birth parents to look similar to the adoptive parents so the child will “blend” this is not necessarily a realistic criterion unless you don’t mind extending the wait for your child significantly. Potential adoptive parents have the right to make a list of the type of baby they are looking for and many create a very extensive list of traits the birth parents should have while others do not. This is a personal decision and one that should be made by both spouses.
The couple hoping to adopt should also make some decisions about the child they wish to adopt. For example, is the prospective adoptive couple looking for a newborn, toddler, elementary or even high school aged child, or whether or not age matters. If a male or female is desired, or if sex does not matter, this should also be included in the list. Some couples go so far as to include skin color and ethnicity, eye and hair color, and healthy without any handicaps or illnesses. Some prospective parents do not care about any of these qualities and simply want a child while other couples are very particular about what they want and need. This varies by couple and it is good for each couple to be very specific about the child they are looking for because a good match will equal a happy family.
Domestic or International Adoption
Couples must also consider whether they prefer domestic or international adoptions. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of adoption, so you should evaluate all of them in reference to your wants and needs for a child and see which option best fits you. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to domestic or international adoptions and both can be slow, drawn out and frustrating processes. Your answers to birth parents and future child requirements will likely answer whether an international adoption is even an option for you or not. Also, couples could decide to begin with a domestic adoption and if it does not work out follow up with an international adoption. This is a decision that must be made with care by the future parents.
Another important detail that should be considered in depth when the decision to go ahead with an adoption is made is the couples’ budget. Adoptions are expensive, whether domestic or international, so making a plan for the budget and how to pay for the adoption is very important before beginning the procedure. For example, expenditures that can apply include agency fees, lawyer fees, birth mother expenses, travel expenses, as well as home study fees. Each adoption case has a different fees structure that is made up by the case itself. So, while you can receive averages for adoption cases you will never know exactly how much your adoption case will cost before you become involved in it. Having a budget you stick to will help you realize whether or not you are financially able to begin adoption procedures or not and will likely influence the agencies and lawyers used during the adoption procedure.
There are many ways to go about an adoption so a couple should evaluate all of the options and then make a plan. For example, couples may search on their own, hire a lawyer, and use a facilitator or adoption agency to help in the process. Many couples end up using a mixture of the above because the adoption process is long and can frequently be disappointing with one method so the couple looks for a new method to try. Research the options available to you and what makes the most sense for your adoption plans and budget.
While there are plenty other elements involved in adoption procedures you should keep in mind, these are some of the more important ones that often slip the minds of prospective adoptive parents when the decision to adopt is made. However, making the decision to adopt with these questions already answered is actually a better plan than making the decision to adopt without evaluating the answers to these questions. If you are a couple considering adoption you must realize that you may have to wait years before you ever receive a child and some couples never do for a variety of reasons. You must prepare yourself for disappointments and failed adoptions, and a million other things that go wrong. Also, you must prepare yourself for a new life and a child to raise, protect and teach about the world. The adoption process is by no means an easy one, but the more educated and informed you are the easier and smoother the process will go and the more informed you will be.