There is a multitude of ways to adopt your baby.
Many people choose to build their family through adoption for various reasons, many of which we will discuss in this post. If you want to adopt a baby but aren’t sure where to start, this can be a great guide for you.
Too many people don’t even consider pursuing babies or children through adoption because they fear it is too hard or too expensive. This article can be used as a launch pad to help you decide which route to further explore and/or pursue.
REASONS TO ADOPT A CHILD
Before jumping entirely into the adoption journey and pursuing a baby via adoption, it would be of everyone’s best interest to clearly define why. Why adopt? A misconception is that people only adopt due to infertility.
This is not always the case. Here are five reasons people choose to adopt a baby or child:
1. To give vulnerable children a forever family.
There are over 150 million orphans and vulnerable children in the world. There are more than 400,000 children and babies in the United States that do not have a permanent, forever family.
“More than 100,000 of them are eligible for adoption. 23,000 of them each year will simply age out of the foster care system without finding permanent homes.” // Buzzfeed.
My personal view of adoption started as a young child, believing (falsely and ignorantly) that adding a baby or child to a family through adoption was savior-like. Now, I know how untrue and incorrect that is. I now also know that adoption is not about finding babies/children for families, but about finding families for vulnerable babies/children.
I now also know that adoption is not about finding babies/children for families, but about finding families for vulnerable babies/children.
2. You recognize the importance for children to be in stable homes.
It’s commonly known that children tend to do better (emotionally, psychologically, etc.) in stable homes. Children in the foster care system are innocent, young humans who need a loving, stable home just as much as any other child.
Often times they are moved from home to home, stranger to stranger, and feel entirely unwanted and unworthy. How do you think this affects their ability to form healthy friendships and relationships, pay attention in school, or succeed as self-confident adults?
3. It isn’t as expensive as you may think.
Adopting through the foster care system is free financially. Private adoption fees are on average less expensive than agency adoptions.
Either way, there are grants available as well as the adoption tax credit which is helpful after you adopt. Many families use it to help pay off any loans they took out to pay the legal fees.
There are also an amazing amount of ways you can fundraise for your adoption while inviting other people into the excitement and journey. Most people are excited and honored to help through fundraisers.
4. You know, believe, and acknowledge that love makes a family.
In adoptive (and foster care) families, this is a mantra for many. It is the confidence that love makes a family, that love is thicker than blood, and that sharing DNA is not what makes a family.
If you truly know and believe this, then adopting a vulnerable child and being available to become a family for a vulnerable baby is a definite option. He or she is your real child and you are their real parents. Love is what truly makes a family.
5. You are unable to have biological children.
Far from the only reason to adopt, this is sometimes what leads a couple to adoption. It is not a backup or second best option to these couples; they usually go through the grieving process of what they thought their bodies could do, then move on with much hope and anticipation.
If a friend or family member is adopting after discovering infertility, do not pity them. This becomes a bigger blessing and opportunity to love deeper than you knew possible.
Possibly you are unmarried or without a partner and would absolutely love to be a mama or daddy. This is another great reason to adopt!
3 BASIC WAYS TO ADOPT YOUR BABY
There are three main types of adoption: foster care adoption, domestic infant adoption, and international adoption. From there, there are different types/details branching off of each one.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ADOPT A BABY?
As stated before, adopting through the state foster care system is free, paid by the state. There are many legal fees when it comes to adopting a baby, either privately or through an agency.
The average domestic infant agency adoption is $25,000 to $40,000. Private, independent adoption fees can range from $3,000 to $24,000.
Before you shut down and peace out due to the high fees, remember a few things: people WANT to help with your adoption and would be honored to be a part of it AND there are tons of financial assistance programs like the adoption tax credit, grants, and no-interest adoption loans.
HOW HARD IS IT TO ADOPT A BABY?
This is slightly tricky to answer because it is truly different for every family. What you determine to be “hard” is also different for every family. In my personal life and in the lives of all of my adoptive family friends, we would say it is not “hard” so to speak.
It is costly on many levels, as you are called to humility, you are asked to wait with an unknown answer of when you will meet your baby, and it is a lot of work to fill out so much paperwork. But I and any adoptive-mama friend you ask would shout a resounding, “IT IS WORTH IT!”
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO ADOPT A CHILD?
Your first big and major step is to be “home study ready.” Search your area for social workers (local adoption agencies have the best contacts!) and get your home study going. That will take a few months.
Search for ethical agencies or an adoption attorney that you want to work with. Apply. Research transracial adoption and cocooning. Most agencies have specific requirements in order to adopt a child through them; requirements like: married couples only, at least 25 years of age, no divorces in the last 3 years, etc. Each agency is different.
Other than that, you need a humble and patient heart, a willingness to fundraise or work a second job, and baby essentials that all babies need! Read our post: How To Prepare for Your Baby Via Adoption.
HOW TO ADOPT A NEWBORN BABY QUICKLY
This is impossible to strategize. However, there are things you can do to promote a quicker adoption. Hire an adoption consultant (we used Susan VanSyckle from CAC).
Apply to multiple agencies across the U.S. Get your home study done as soon as possible. Apply to as many adoption grants as you can to be as financially ready as possible.
And while you’re waiting for your newborn, study and research about cocooning, positive adoption language, transracial adoption, and attachment.
ADOPTING A BABY FROM FOSTER CARE
Every state’s foster care system is different.
“It is possiblee to adopt a baby from foster care. Infants (children under the age of 1) are a growing proportion of first-time admissions to the foster care system. Most children adopted from child welfare are under the age of 3. Nearly half of all adoptions are of children who entered care before age 1.” // https://creatingafamily.org
INTERNATIONAL + SINGLE PARENT + NON PROFIT ADOPTION AGENCIES
International adoptions are always changing as the varying countries change their laws and requirements. Finding the best international adoption agency is no easy feat.
You want to find an ethical, trustworthy agency and that requires a lot of research on your part unless you hire an adoption consultant, which we highly recommend. They are in the know of which countries and agencies are open and ethical.
This is the same for single parent adoption agencies; adoption consultants are in the know and have access to so many resources and agencies that we are unaware of.
Just because an agency has the term “non-profit” in front of it does not mean it is going to be better, more ethical, or more affordable. What you really want to look for in your research for a great agency is: how well they care for the expectant/birth mothers, how well they care for their adoptive families, how and if they educate adoptive families, if they offer counseling and ongoing communication with their expectant mothers, and how many failed matches they average each year.
Choosing to grow your family through adoption is a big decision, but one I would bet you won’t regret. We are beyond grateful and honored to have been made parents through adoption. This post is by no means an entire guide book for you, but it is a great start for your journey about the different ways to adopt your baby!
Featured image source: www.adoption.com