Adopting a child is no easy task. Adoption is the legal process in which all parental rights and responsibilities are transferred from one set of parents to a couple or individual who has agreed to assume those rights and responsibilities. The first place to start in the adoption process is educating yourself on what to expect so that you encounter as few “surprises” as possible.
Adopting parents will need to meet certain qualifications, will need to make choices, and at time of final adoption will carry the parental responsibility to the child as if they gave birth to them.
Unlike pregnancy, adopting parents must meet certain state, federal and international requirements (depending on the method of placement) in order to adopt a child. Not every person has the “right” to adopt, only the child has the right to be “adopted”. The requirements may seem like an invasion into your privacy, but keep in mind, they are only to ensure to the best ability that the family and home that the child is being adopted into is a safe family and home. Most parents would not send their child to a babysitter that they had not checked out first right? Here are the basic qualifications:
1. Must be older than 18 years of age
2. Must have good physical and mental health
3. Able to show good financial stability
4. Participate in criminal and child abuse and neglect background checks
5. Provide medical and background information on each family member in the home
6. Participate in adoption education and parenting classes
If you feel comfortable with the basic qualifications then it is time to consider your options!
Also unlike pregnancy, adopting provides a certain amount of options for the adoptive parents. While some people feel it is “not right to choose”, the reality is that there are some choices that you will have to make and other choices that can be left to chance if you prefer. Keep in mind, that you may “choose” certain options only to find in the end of the process that your “choices” had changed!
Some choices will help determine which method of adoption is right for you, here are some things to ask yourself:
1. What is the age range of the child you would like to adopt? Newborn/Infant under 3 months? Under 4? Older Child?
2. What is the gender of the child you would like to adopt? Boy or Girl or Either?
3. What are the health issues that you would be able to help a child with? Minor Health Issues? Disability Such As Deaf, Blind, Downs Syndrome, ect?
4. What is your race preference for a child? Caucasian? Hispanic? African American? No Preference?
5. How do you feel about communication with birth family? Not interested? Welcome it? No Preference?
6. What is your financial budget for adopting a child? $0? Under $10,000? $20,000+?
After you have carefully considered your options, take some time to educate yourself on the different methods of adoption to determine which one best matches your preferences. For example, if you do not want communication with a child’s birth family then International Adoption may be the best method. If your adoption budget is less than $1,000.00 then Foster Adoption may be right for you. If you are most interested in a newborn child then Domestic Adoption would be the best place to start.