The very best way to occupy your time while you wait for your child is to learn everything you can about raising adopted children, and to prepare for any eventuality.
Our adoptive families recommend that you share your plans in stages. While adoptions take, on average, one year from the date your home study is accepted, you won’t be in control of the timing. And if yours drags on, the last thing you want is daily phone calls asking, “So … any news?”
The list of documents looks daunting; just take them one by one. You can make the process easier if you get the correct documents on the first try—nothing is more frustrating than having your home study held up because you have to chase yet another bit of paper.
If you have a medical, financial, or criminal record that you fear might result in an unfavorable home study, don’t wait to mention it.
Your home study will not only assess your ability to parent a child through adoption, it will also help you understand more about adoption and parenting.
A home study is a document that says you can be a parent. What does that mean?
No matter what kind of adoption you’re doing, it’s smart to enlist a pediatrician before you make any other decisions. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a section for adoption medicine, with a directory of members.
Before you choose your adoption path, talk to an adoption pediatrician about risk factors and complications related to prenatal drug and alcohol use.
Experts in international adoption medicine stress that the country of origin is less important than the individual child’s circumstances. Children with disastrous, life-long problems can be born to healthy couples in wealthy countries; perfectly healthy babies can emerge from chaos and poverty.
All parents, biological or adoptive, want perfect children, and all realistic parents understand that there is some risk in having children by any method.
Child psychiatrists believe that children lay down emotional patterns, beginning in infancy. A child who does not experience consistent affection may never learn to feel or express affection for others. This syndrome is called “attachment disorder” or “reactive attachment disorder” (RAD).
All adoptions, wherever from and via whatever method, include a home study, the process where a social worker checks that you are eligible to adopt. After that, budget items vary.
There are enough sources of financial support for adoption so that you can, in all likelihood, get your costs down to a manageable figure.
Well, it varies! As a general rule, foster-care adoptions cost less than private or international adoptions. Learn the hidden costs and types of payments that are illegal.
If your adoption drags on and on, or if you keep getting birth mother matches or child referrals that don’t come close to your requirements, you’ll have to think about making a change.
LGBT prospective parents may face extra hurdles because of a state’s adoption law, an agency’s philosophy, or the attitude of an individual social worker.
“Niceness is not typically a concern when you are looking for an attorney to litigate a case, but in an adoption, when the attorney is going to have direct contact with the birth parents, you need your legal representative to be a likeable person!”
We can’t say this often enough. Look for an agency or attorney that has completed lots of adoptions just like yours: same kind of child, same kind of parents.
When you start out choosing an adoption agency, you’ll need the answers to these common questions. Learn how to make the best decision for your family.
Should you choose an agency or attorney? Where should you start? Answers to these common questions, and more.