By Joy Goodman
Is your heart open wide to let a child into your family; to love him and be loved by him? If so, then you may be interested in adoption. There are hundreds of thousands of children waiting for their forever families, both here in the U.S. and abroad. There may be a child waiting for you.
If you are interested in adoption, there are several paths you can take to find your child. One is private adoption. In this scenario you may consider adopting a child through your own connections of family and friends. If you let the people around you know of your desire to adopt, you may be introduced to someone who is planning to place her unborn child for adoption. Using an adoption broker is another way to locate a pregnant woman who wishes to place the baby for adoption. Be sure to seek the advice of an adoption attorney before making any agreements.
A second path would be to adopt through the local Department of Child Services in your area. While some parents serve as foster parents before adopting this way, it isn’t always required. Potential adoptees can also be identified through Child Services from other similar state agencies all over the country. Adoption within the U.S., such as through the Department of Child Services, is also called Domestic Adoption.
International Adoption is the third path and, as its name indicates, this means your child is located in a foreign country. Usually you will be required to travel to the country to meet and adopt your child. There are many agencies that specialize in international adoption. Often they have only certain countries that they work in, depending on the relationships and contacts they have made in the country. Many of these agencies hold free informational meetings around the country so that you can meet parents who have already been through the process and learn about the agency’s offerings and requirements.
The route you decide to take will determine the possibilities and requirements for adoption. For example, paperwork requirements will differ in each of these cases, with the biggest stack belonging to the international adoption. Costs span a great range depending on the path and the location of the child. Adopting a child locally through the Department of Child Services will normally be the least expensive. Brokered private adoptions and international adoptions will generally be the most expensive. The wait times and timeline will vary depending on the route chosen and whether you choose a child who is yet to be born or not.
Age, race, and the possibilities of siblings are other considerations for potential parents. In a private adoption the child will usually be a newborn. In an international adoption, older babies and toddlers are most common, although school age children can also be adopted. Domestic adoptees are more likely to be school age, although younger children are sometimes available, too. The predominant race of the country you adopt from will determine the race of available children. If you are interested in adopting a sibling group, you’ll find many sibling groups available through the Department of Child Services. Sibling groups are also available internationally, although they are not as common.
Health concerns are sometimes raised in discussions of adoption. It is possible to adopt a child with special needs if you desire to do so; however, there are very many children without any health concerns or special needs. Your family should discuss this and determine what limitations, if any, you are willing to accept. This should then be discussed with the agency you select. Of course, there are no guarantees about health with adopted children, just like children who come into a family biologically.
In case you’re wondering what it’s like to be an adoptive parent, I’ll tell you. It’s wonderful, amazing, and fulfilling. Some days it’s exhausting, frustrating, and heart-breaking, too. In other words, it’s just being a parent. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
Joy Goodman is an adoptive mom who writes about adoption and other parenting topics at http://parentsheart.com.
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