Whether you already have biological children and wish to welcome more children into your home or you are infertile, you can make an enormous difference in a child’s life and your own through adoption. However, before beginning the process of adoption, it is important to know the many steps that the adoption process entails. The application for and process of adoption are not simple and many steps need to be completed before you can actually welcome this new child into your home. The following are the basic steps for an adoption:
- Choose the type of adoption
- Choose a facilitator or agency
- Complete the home study
- Wait to be placed
- Finalize the process and bring your child home
The First Step to Adoption
The first step is to choose whether you will use a public or a private adoption agency. Thoroughly examine the advantages and disadvantages of both options so that you will be able to make an educated decision. Make sure not to become overeager and rush this process.
After You Contact the Agency or Agencies
Once you have contacted the agency, they might ask you to attend an adoption orientation that will provide you with valuable information. The orientation will often discuss the detailed procedure as well as give you the opportunity to get your questions answered. Perhaps the most important part of the orientation is the fact that you will be able to meet other families who are also considering adoption. It is an excellent idea to attend orientations at several different agencies to familiarize yourself with the different procedures that they offer as well as their philosophies. This will allow you to better be able to choose which agency you are most comfortable with. At the end of the orientation, you will most likely be given an adoption application that you can later turn in along with the application fee.
The “Home Study”
Perhaps the most important part of the application process is the “home study”. This step is completed after the agency has accepted your adoption application. The goal of the study is to evaluate and analyze your home and the environment in which the child will live. It will also help the parents prepare for their duties as a parent as well as teach them how to care for the child when he or she arrives. Typically, the “home study” will consist of several visits with a social worker. One of these visits will take place in your house and others may include group visits and classes with other parents planning to adopt. You will also need to receive a physical examination, have your fingerprints taken, and have a background check completed. The typical time for a completion of this study is around two months.
Waiting For Your Child
There are many factors that may affect the length of time that you are required to wait for your child. If you are planning to adopt a Caucasian infant, the waiting list is often between two and five years. This is often the case because the birthmothers and adoptive parents are paired based upon the requirements of both the birthmother and the adoptive parents. However, if you are adopting an infant from another race, the wait list will most likely be significantly shorter. However, international adoptions may also take more than a year due to the requirements of the country in question.
The Finalization of the Adoption
After the termination of the birthparent’s parental rights, the presence of the child in the adoptive home for a period exceeding 6 months, and the submission of a recommendation from the social worker, the judge will finally finish the adoption by giving all legal parental rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parents. This may vary with international adoptions as there may be added legal processes that are required.
Although the adoption process can be quite daunting, there is no doubt that the adoption of a child will have a lasting effect on both the adopted child and his or her adoptive parents. The chance to positively change the course of a child's life is priceless and a decision which you will never forget.