Before you begin, consider if you are ready to adopt. The adoption process can be long and challenging but worth it in the end. If you are ready for a challenge and are willing to jump through whatever hoops are thrown your way in order to give a child a forever home, then here are a few things you should know.
1) Find a licensed adoption agency or adoption lawyer. These professionals will help you navigate your adoption process. They will make sure that you meet all deadlines and sort through all the red tape. They will be your “go-to” people and will most likely have the answers to all of your questions along the way.
2) You will need to determine what kind of adoption you would like to pursue. There are three basic ways to adopt a non-infant child: Foster to adopt, private placement, and international adoption. Each of these options comes with their own set of requirements and costs.
-Foster to Adopt. Consider becoming a foster parent before you adopt. You will have an opportunity to meet the child first and begin to form a relationship. This option is usually the least expensive, but can take the most time. It is important to remember that the goal of fostering a child is for them to reconcile with their family. In the event that this is not possible, the parents’ rights may be terminated and the child made available for adoption. As you foster with no end-time in sight, remember that you can offer the child the best “now” family they could have, and in doing so you could change their lives.
-Private Placement. If you desire an open or semi-open relationship with the child’s birth family, you may want to consider working with an adoption agency or adoption lawyer. They have the networking ability show your profile and match you to perspective parents. Before and After Placement, they can act as an intermediary between you and the birth family.
-International Adoption. There are many children across the world who are available for adoption. Consult with an adoption agency to help you determine from which country you may be able to adopt. You will need to consider things like age, special needs, sibling groups, and location. Each country has its own prerequisites. Time and finances will vary per country.
3) It also couldn’t hurt you to educate yourself on the some things you may face with younger and older child adoption. Not all children are available for adoption because of a horrible trauma or bad situation, but all adoptions come from a hard place. Being severed from the family that raised them is traumatic in itself. Knowledge is power.
4) There is A LOT of paperwork and such when adopting. You will probably be able to sign your name in your sleep before it is all over. You will have medical exams, home inspections, background checks, mental health checks, and financial checks. Don’t let it all freak you out. They are just doing the best they can to make sure that the child is coming to a loving forever home.
All in all, the basic process for adoption a child is very similar to adopting an infant. The difference is that the younger or older child has more memories attached to their past and may have more of a voice in the adoption process. Keep in mind that deep inside every person is the need to be loved. Even if the child “says” they don’t need love, they do and are probably testing you (almost daring you) to love them. Be patient.
Adoptable Child Photolisting - adoption.com/photolisting
Foster Care Information - adoption.com/foster
Articles about foster parenting - adoptioncenters.com
Open Adoption Articles - openadoptions.com
International Adoption Information - internationadoption.org