Many couples these days turn to adoption to build and in some cases, expand their families. But for many people, the process appears complicated and confusing. While it can be complex and time-consuming, scores of couples successfully adopt children every year. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you are hoping to adopt a child.
1. Do your research. There are many agencies out there, and not all are legitimate, ethical and responsible. Explore your options well, perhaps contacting your local adoptive families association or support group and seeking referrals from others who have successfully adopted. Compare domestic vs. international adoption agencies, depending on the country from which you hope to adopt a child. Check adoption agency track records and testimonials.
2. Obtain an adoption attorney. You may wish to consult with a special attorney in both your own state as well as in the state of the birth mother, if you have identified one already. Attorneys who specialize in adoption are well versed in the often complex laws and intricacies of the adoption process and are generally required for couples seeking adoption. Your attorney will help you understand not only the legal requirements for adoption, but also your legal rights as potential adoptive parents and the birth mother’s legal rights as well.
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3. Be patient. The process is highly variable in terms of length, but by and large, it takes time–often more time than couples expect. It can months or even years to successfully adopt a child, but this depends on many factors, such as the child’s country of birth. International adoptions often take substantially more time than domestic adoptions, and generally require trips abroad.
4. Be prepared financially. The cost of adopting a child is another factor that varies widely. Some adoptions can cost tens of thousands of dollars when all is said and done; others are not nearly as costly. But at any rate, the process is a major expense. When doing your research on adoption agencies, fully investigate all fees involved. Make sure you understand your potential attorney’s fees as well. Make sure your financing plan is secure before you begin the process.
5. Seek out support. Adopting a child is a joyful experience, but it is also stressful. Surround yourself with family members, friends and other adoptive parents who can be a source of support for you, both during the adoption process and after it is completed.
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