Becoming a parent is a huge milestone — and for many people, it’s their life’s greatest wish. But the truth is that one in every six couples of childbearing age struggles with infertility and there are others who would simply rather open their home to a child in need rather than have biological kids. Adoption can be a wonderful way to start a family, but it’s certainly not the easiest process. In fact, it takes ample time and resources make this option a reality. While there are a number of considerations to keep in mind when considering adoption, prospective families should follow these tips when getting ready to embark on this journey.
Talk to the Experts
If you intend to adopt, you need to do your research. Learn all you can before the process begins so you know what you’re getting into. Not only should you read all the books and blog posts you can find, but you should make it your mission to talk to others who have been through this same process and can offer advice from their own experiences. Support groups and informational meetings can be immensely helpful, as well.
You’ll also want to speak to a lawyer with adoption case experience. In 2012, there were 1,268,011 people in the U.S. who practiced law — a number that has since risen to 1,315,561 lawyers nationwide — but not all of these attorneys are well-versed in adoption practices. While an adoption lawyer will not serve as a substitute for an adoption agency, your attorney can provide specific services that may come in handy during the process. Most of all, they’ll ensure everything is done legally, which can minimize stress and other intense emotions many adoptive parents experience. Your attorney can help you know what to expect and can protect your rights during a confusing period. On top of that, you can also use the services of name specialists, to help with the process of a child name change, should you consider moving forward with an adoption.
Get Your Finances in Order
The costs of adoption cannot be overstated. Many families fail to realize just how expensive adoption can be. According to Forbes, adoptions can often cost anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000. While the fees associated with this process will depend on many factors, you’ll want to focus on your finances when you’re starting out. After determining how much your adoption might cost (which is another reason to consult with the professionals!), you’ll need to figure out how to make it all feasible. Aside from depending on your savings, you may also be able to take out a loan or apply for grants. There are also fundraising platforms that could allow you to raise money for this cause. Be sure to do your research and really assess whether this is possible for you before moving forward.
Watch For Signs of Fraud
Unfortunately, there are people out there who want to prey on prospective parents. Recent instances of fraud involved a lawyer with a solo practice who also happened to own the adoption agency used. Any adoption lawyer who works only with one orphanage or agency should be carefully scrutinized. In addition, any adoption lawyer or agency promising short resolution times should be viewed with skepticism. Even step-parent adoptions can take anywhere from four to eight months to complete; if a lawyer or agency makes promises to get it done on a quick time frame, look into other options. There are others who might attempt to scam would-be adoptive families, bilking these individuals out of thousands of dollars without ever showing proof of pregnancy. To avoid these worst case scenarios, it’s recommended that you work with a highly regarded agency, rather than pursuing independent adoption. Be sure to refrain from transferring any money directly to a recipient, as well. While there’s nothing wrong with providing financial support to a birth mother during her pregnancy, you’ll want to follow all applicable laws and go through the agency or attorney
Although these tips won’t provide you with all of the answers you need during the adoption process, they can act as a good place to start. If you keep these in mind, you’ll be more informed and can make better decisions about what’s right for your growing family.