family of father and daughter - joys of adoption

Families Look to Adopt A Baby Guide

Have you considered adopting an infant? Do you have a lot of questions? Well, you have come to the right place. I am going to provide you with helpful information that will help your adoption process go much smoother. Within this guide, you will find answers to most of your questions and resources providing more answers. I hope you find this guide helpful as you navigate this journey to adopt your baby. 

Options for Adoption 

Before pursuing adoption, you need to know the different options for adoption. Not only do we have domestic adoption and international adoption, but we also have two types of adoption: open adoption and closed adoption. First, let me discuss with you domestic adoption and international adoption. When someone decides to adopt, they must decide if they want to adopt from the United States or another country. If you choose domestic adoption, you are choosing to adopt a baby from the United States. Within the United States, there are different methods of domestic adoption. 

You can choose independent adoption, an agency adoption, relative or kinship adoption, or foster care adoption. If you choose private or independent adoption, meaning you have been selected by the birth parents without an agency, you will need to hire an adoption attorney or an agency to help facilitate the adoption process. If you choose an agency adoption, they will match you with the child you wish to adopt and facilitate the entire process. Some agencies will also facilitate kinship adoptions and foster care adoptions. You will have to contact the agency to receive their services. A second option for adoption is an international adoption. This means that you have chosen to adopt a baby from another country. If you wish to adopt from another country, it is highly recommended that you do this through an adoption agency that specializes in international adoptions. 

Once you have chosen whether you will adopt domestically or internationally, you will need to decide if you want the adoption to be an open adoption or closed adoption. An open adoption is an adoption plan in which the adoptive parents maintain contact with the birth parents. There are pros and cons to open adoption. Some pros of an open adoption include answers to the questions an adoptee may have, link to heritage and ancestry, ability to obtain medical information, and a bigger family. The cons to open adoption may include issues with boundaries, unrealistic expectations, and social issues. 

A closed adoption is an adoption plan in which no contact is maintained between the adoptive family and the birth family. Pros to this type of adoption plan would be no issues with boundaries, protection from unstable situations, and a chance for the adoptive parents to choose if they want to tell the child about their birth family. The cons of a closed adoption include the inability to access medical records, not being able to answer the adoptee’s questions, and no access to family heritage. 

In general, the cons outweigh the pros with closed adoptions. Choose what you think will be best for your child when you adopt a baby.

Process for Adopting a Baby 

The next thing that we will discuss in this guide to adopt a baby is the steps you need to take to bring that infant into your home. The first step to take for any adoption is to explore and learn about adoption. By reading this guide, you have taken that first step. The next thing you will need to do is to decide whether you would like to adopt domestically or internationally and whether you would like to work with an adoption attorney or an adoption agency. Once you have made your decisions, you will need to select the agency or attorney you will be working with. 

After selecting your agency or attorney, you need to fill out an application and obtain a home study. A home study is a process completed that includes an examination of the environment in which the child will be raised and a screening of the prospective adoptive family. The home study process can take three to six months to complete. Once it is complete, it is time to play the waiting game and begin preparations to bring the child into your home. The waiting period can vary depending on the type of adoption you chose. While you wait for your placement, you can begin preparing for the child. 

When adopting an infant, some major things you need to purchase are a crib, car seats, high chair, and stroller. Consider having an adoption shower. Once you have your placement, you can purchase other things like diapers, bottles, and clothes. Eventually, your wait period will come to an end and you will get a placement.

Once the baby has been placed into your home, you will begin the legal proceedings. This will typically take six months or more. During this time, a social worker will visit your home to ensure the baby is well-cared for and submit required court reports. After this period, the agency will submit a written approval of adoption to the court and at this point, you can file for adoption. You can file through an attorney or file yourself. Once the adoption is finalized, the baby becomes a part of your family forever. You can now raise the child as your own. 

Costs of Adopting a Baby 

When people consider adoption, they consider the cost. Depending on whether you have chosen to adopt domestically from foster care, independently, or internationally, it could cost a lot or a little. If you have chosen to adopt domestically from foster care, it could cost some money. This cost includes an application fee and a home study fee. Adopting through foster care is the least expensive, but it is not for everyone. If you choose to adopt a baby privately or independently, you may be spending a lot of money. Remember that this cost includes the home study fee and application fee along with consulting fees, advertising fees, birth mother expenses, legal fees, and travel fees. If you have chosen to adopt internationally, your cost could be higher. The cost of an international adoption includes country fees, agency fees, travel expenses, and visa expenses. 

Pursuing adoption is going to cost you a lot of money, but it will be worth it. If you are concerned about how to afford adoption, there are many ways to obtain the funds you need. You can find organizations that give grants, host adoption fundraisers, find a side job, or plan and save money. Remember that it is not all due at the same time and the process ends with you getting to adopt a baby. 

Other Things to Consider

After you have adopted your baby, there are some other things that you should know and consider.

Daycare for Your Baby: Once your child is placed into your home, you will need to consider what you are going to do with your child while you work. There are many options for childcare. You may choose to enroll your child into a daycare whether that be at a daycare center or an in-home daycare. You will need to choose what is best for your child. 

Things you need to consider if choosing a daycare center include whether the center provides infant care, the higher child-to-teacher ratio, exposure to germs, the daycare sick policy, no academic curriculum, holiday closures, and strict times for pick-up and drop-off. 

Things you need to consider when choosing an in-home daycare include, limited options for backup care, licensing, exposure to germs, the personality of the caregiver, and no academic curriculum. 

As you decide between your daycare options, you will also need to consider the costs. Daycare can be expensive so be prepared for it if you choose to enroll your child in daycare. You may have the option for your state to pay for the daycare, but you will need to do your research as not all daycares take state pay. 

Leave from Work: Federal law requires that any employer with more than 50 employees offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave to parents after the adoption of their child, as mandated by the Family and Medical Leave Act. Some employers may offer some paid leave as well. Check with your employer to find out what types of leave they offer after you adopt your child. 

Support after Adoption: After completing an adoption, many adoptive parents seek out services to support them. Support can come in the form of support groups, educational resources, and financial resources. You can join a support group that meets in your local area or online. The best way to find support groups is to talk to the professionals that helped you with your adoption. 

Parenting support can also come in the form of educational resources whether that be through parenting classes or educational materials. Check with your local adoption agencies for help. Support can also be financial. Raising a child can be expensive. Financial support can be found through adoption loans or grants, special adoption subsidies, employer benefits for adoptive families, and the adoption tax credit program. If you want to seek any financial support, contact your local adoption agency or the adoption attorney you worked with.

Health Insurance and Adoption: One subject at the forefront of our minds is the cost of health insurance. Health insurance can be expensive but without it, our medical bills are astronomical. Something to think about when adopting a child is how you will pay for the child’s medical care. You may choose to add the child to your health insurance plan or you may purchase a separate health insurance plan for your child. 

Whatever you choose, you should know that your child may be eligible for an adoption subsidy through the state. Your child automatically qualifies for an adoption subsidy if adopted through foster care. This subsidy is provided to help offset the cost of things like counseling, therapies, and medications. You may choose to use this subsidy as a supplementary option to your current health insurance plan or by itself. This coverage only lasts until the child turns 18. 

Another option that you may have is a monthly stipend. This will largely depend on the needs of the child. Many children from foster care require additional care for learning disabilities, mental health, physical health issues, or other needs the child may have. It is important to do your research in regards to providing health insurance for your child. 

The above information is just meant to be a guide to help you as you navigate the world of adoption. There are plenty of resources available to help you. I know you have other questions, but I do hope you found this guide to be a useful resource. Your adoption journey is going to be a long one and it does not end at the court proceedings. When you choose to adopt, you are choosing a child to love forever. I hope and pray that your journey is blessed. From an adoptee to prospective adoptive parents, I thank you for your heart and your willingness to adopt a baby. There are so many children out in this world that need a loving home. I pray that the next child that comes available for adoption becomes a part of your family. 

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Emili Schurke

Emili Schurke is the youngest of three children. She was adopted when she was three years old. She has a huge heart for adoption and foster care. She currently resides with her parents and assists with the children in their care. Emili holds a special place in her heart for children with special needs. She works as a special education paraprofessional while she is pursuing her Masters in Teaching Special Education from Drury University. In 2018, she graduated with her Bachelor's in Elementary Studies from College of the Ozarks, located in Point Lookout, Missouri. She is excited to share her adoption story with those around her.