1. Forget everything you’ve heard about how impossible or hard it is to adopt. Today adoption is an option for people of all backgrounds and lifestyles.
2. Decide whether you want to adopt a baby, an older child, a child with special needs or a child of another race. There are all kinds of children out there who need families.
3. If you want to adopt your child from the U.S., make sure you understand the adoption laws in your state.
4. Consider international adoption. Thousands of children worldwide need parents. If you’d like to pursue international adoption, there are specialized adoption agencies that can help you.
5. Do your homework. Find agencies and adoption experts in your area. Ask for brochures or handouts. Attend seminars. Join local adoptive parent support groups.
6. Tell friends, family, colleagues, physicians and everyone else that you want to adopt. Ask them to think of you if they hear of anyone who may want a child adopted.
7. Screen any adoption agency or attorney that you are thinking about using. Ask for references and check to see if any complaints have been made. Maintain a healthy skepticism.
8. Keep your cool during the home study investigation. Remember that no parents are perfect. Use the experience as an exercise in self-exploration.
9. When you hear about a child you might adopt, ask questions about the child’s health and early life experiences. Learn as much as you can about the birth parents.
10. Your child arrives! Congratulations! Enjoy parenting and your new life together.
From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Adoption (Second Edition, 2005).