US Adoption Myths and Facts

"Adoption takes years to complete, are you willing to wait so long?" some may ask. If you're considering adoption, here are some myths and facts to be aware of.

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THERE ARE NO KIDS TO ADOPT – MYTH

In actuality, there are newborns to 18-year-olds being adopted through the foster care system and privately in the United States, and young toddlers to 16-year-olds being adopted internationally every day. Children are of all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. They range from healthy children to children with minor or moderate to major medical needs and handicapping conditions. There are individual children as well as sibling groups waiting for a permanent family. Some children are living in a home with other family members, while others are living in children’s homes, group homes and larger institutions. Depending on the setting, children may get individual attention or be cared for with a group of other children.

IT CAN BE EXPENSIVE – FACT

There is an adoption for everyone’s budget with each adoption having its own individual costs. The costs for adoption through foster care are generally covered by the taxes paid to a community and state. The prospective adoptive parents apply to the foster care agency, receive all services through that local agency, locate a child either through that agency or another agency across the United States and receive post-adoption services through their local foster care agency. If adopting from another state, the prospective adoptive family will pay for the travel costs to visit the child. They may also be asked to pay for the attorney and court costs associated with the finalization of the adoption.

In a private U.S. adoption or international adoption, the prospective adoptive parents pay all costs and they can be quite high. This includes the attorney’s and/or adoption agency’s fees, home study and post placement services, fees associated with locating a birth parent or child, travel expenses, court and immigration filing fees, allowable adoption expenses and costs associated with the finalization of the adoption. There are adoption grants, loans and many fundraising options for individuals and couples looking to adopt. There is also an adoption tax credit available – check with your qualified tax accountant for details.

IT CAN TAKE YEARS TO ADOPT – FACT

Every adoption is a unique experience and takes a different amount of time. The time frame for an international adoption is easier to predict, as the children have already been born and the time involved is in the paperwork. You must apply to a US adoption agency with the program in the foreign country, complete the home study, receive approval from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and submit the adoption dossier overseas. After that, the adoption agency will provide you with an estimated timeline for the adoption, which can vary depending on that country’s laws and regulations.

The timeline for U.S. adoption is harder to predict as it includes being approved for your home study,  along with the time it takes to locate a prospective birth mother, how far along she is in her pregnancy, awaiting interstate approval to bring a child back into your home state, the post placement paperwork and the finalization of the adoption. The biggest unknown here is how long it will take to locate a birth parent and how far along in the pregnancy she will be.

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