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Adoption in itself can be an overwhelming topic. With so many facets, and options it can be overwhelming to the point of turning away potential adoptive parents. I want to cover the basics of adoption and give those who are looking to adopt more information.
If you are looking to adopt, here are some of the basics for you:
Types of Adoption
While there are five types of adoption in the United States, I am only going to cover those dealing with children. (The fifth being adult adoption.)
Adoption through Foster Care
Adoption through foster care is where you are matched with a child(ren) from the foster care system in the U.S. and are able to adopt them through a public agency. It is one of the “easier” ways to adopt in the U.S. Children range in age from 0-18, and sometimes as high as 21 years old.
Another popular option in the U.S. is international adoption. Couples in the U.S. have the option of adopting from 48 other countries. Most countries require that parents are over the age of 25 and at least 15 years older than the child. Children range in the ages 0-17 typically.
Private Domestic Adoption
Private adoption, unlike the previous two, is not working with an organization but is actually a legal agreement between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. These adoptions are typically for infant adoptions only where the birth parents have a say in the adoption; vs. foster adoption and international adoption where the birth parents most likely do not have a say in the adoption.
This type of adoption is where you end up adopting a family member when their parents are no longer able to care for them. This is often a niece, nephew, or grandchild; and sometimes includes adopting siblings who are much younger than the adoptive parent. This is typically not a form of adoption you would pursue without being approached by DCF first.
Costs of Adoption
The cost of adoption varies greatly on which type of adoption you’re looking to pursue. I also want to note that adoption costs do not typically include travel and they do not include the cost of having a child (clothes, food, etc).
Foster Adoption is the cheapest option when you are looking to adopt. Typically, this form of adoption costs little to no money, in many states.
International adoption is one of the two most pricey forms of adoption; ranging anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000. While there are grants available to help with international adoption, they are harder and harder to come by as international adoption becomes more popular.
When I decided to pursue international adoption, I ended up picking up a second full-time job to help pay for the costs. Update, my adoption (thanks to COVID) has lasted almost two years and I still work here.
Private Domestic Adoption
Adopting an infant domestically can cost anywhere between $25,000 to $48,500 depending on if you use an agency or adopt independently. It is definitely the most costly option when it comes to adoptions in the U.S. but it is still a highly pursued avenue.
Just like foster adoption, kinship adoption has little to no cost associated with it.
How Long Does it Take to Adopt?
Depending on which country you choose to adopt from, international adoption can take months to years. Bulgaria, for instance, can take as little as 9 months if you keep on top of all of your paperwork and choose to go the waiting child route; while other countries can take years to even be matched with a child.
Private Domestic Adoption
Once you have your home study in hand, private domestic adoption can take a few months for a newborn with special needs up to 2 to 7 years for a healthy infant.
Unlike the other types of adoption, kinship adoption often happens with very little warning and can even be as quick as 24 hours before you have a child in your home. As I’ve said before, this is not typically an avenue that you would usually pursue when adopting; more of an avenue that would pursue you.
What should I do now, if I want to adopt?
Adoption is a huge step for any individual or family. Here are a few of my tips for when you are looking to adopt:
1 | Pray
Pray about everything first, make sure this is something that you feel led to do. While God calls us to care for orphans, sometimes it’s not the right time for us and that’s okay.
2 | Consider your eligibility
– Are you financially stable enough to care for a child/pay for an adoption (if not from foster/kinship care)?
– Are you mentally ready to take on a child(ren)?
– Do you have the space for a child(ren)?
– Do you have the time for a child(ren)?
3 | Discuss with your family
One of the hardest things as a possible adoptive parent is when you’re not on the same page. I know that if the whole family is not on board with the adoption, not only will it reflect poorly in your home study but it could cause a strain in your marriage or between parent and child.
4 | Prepare for the adoption
This is a great time to prepare your finances, home and family for adoption.
Get your finances in order, savings account, money for the adoption itself, money for home renovations and purchases for the child(ren).
You can also spend this time preparing yourself, spouse and other children for the new member(s) to your family. Reading books, watching movies, taking classes, etc. will all help you prepare to bring another member of the family home.
If you’ve reviewed these and still are looking to adopt, then here are some more specific resources to start you on your adoption journey:
– Rainbow Kids
What other topics would you like to see surrounding adoption? Leave your comments below!