If you are thinking of adopting a child, there are a lot of things you need to know about the adoption process. A lot goes into an adoption, from screenings, extensive paperwork, and home studies to placement, fulfilling agency/professional requirements, and preparing for your new child. Of course, adoption is not an impossible feat—many couples and families do it every year, and it brings immense joy to all of them.
If you are looking to adopt, being prepared is the best thing you can do before beginning your journey. The best way to prepare is to do your research and learn all there is to know about the adoption process for Adoptive Parents on your end of the spectrum. This guide will help walk you through the typical adoption process for both domestic and international adoptions.
The Adoption Process: An Overview
Overview of the adoption process
Your adoption journey officially begins once you’ve chosen an agency, organization, or adoption professional to adopt from. This choice can take a long time for some families, especially for those who have done extensive research on where and who they want to adopt from. There are a few different choices out there, so knowing where you want to land can help you get started sooner.
From here, the adoption entity will likely have some requirements of their own, or screening process, that ensures if you are the right fit for placement with a child. Overall, the process should roughly look something like this:
  • Paperwork: Paperwork for Adoptive Parents involves going over personnel files, financial security and needs, health overview for both physical and emotional health, reports of any criminal history, marital history (if applicable), and age. This goes for both domestic and international adoptions, though some requirements may vary depending from where you decide to adopt. It is important to remember that international adoptions have other requirements of their own.
  • Time: One of the biggest obstacles for Adoptive Families is the wait time that comes with adoption. The wait to be placed with your child could be anywhere from a few months to a few years, and the time could be even longer for international adoptions. Depending upon who the Birth Parents are, the details of your adoption plan, and any complications that may arise, the time frame from the start of the adoption process to the finalization can be very high. Of course, there are ways to help make the waiting time a little easier with families, but many find this to be one of the most difficult parts of the entire process.
  • Home Study: In alliance with Adoptive Parent background checks, you will have to meet with a social worker at some point during the adoption process. This meeting is usually to see if you are a safe and fit parent and is one of the key parts of Adoptive Parent screening. Basically, social workers will interview you, visit your home, check your references, and be with you every step of the way to ensure the child’s safety.
  • Home Preparation: Towards the end of the adoption process, you will have to think about home preparation for your new child. This means doing everything required to make a new home safe, welcoming, and comfortable for a new child. What home preparation entails can vary depending upon the Adoptive Family, but there are a few common requirements that all adoptive families can prepare:
    Preparing the home for the adoption process
    • Child­Friendly Environment: A child­friendly home is one that is clean, orderly, and free of overt adult paraphernalia, such as literature, films, images, and decorations that are inappropriate for children to see or be around. This is also extended to child safety precautions taken in the bathroom, around stairs if the home has them, basements, attics, and other rooms where a child could injure themselves.
    • Proper Supplies: Healthy foods, necessary toiletries, medications, utensils, and furniture needed and designed for children are a great way to prepare your home for your coming child. Of course, the supplies you purchase should reflect the age of the child you’re adopting.
  • The Birth!: depending on your adoption plan with the Birth Mother, you may be able to be in hospital room or waiting room for your baby’s birth. The ANLC team will ensure that everything at the hospital goes as smoothly as possible, so that you can enjoy the moment you’ve been long waiting for: holding your precious GIFT of life in your arms.
  • Finalization: The end of the adoption process comes with finalization of the adoption. This may come after your child is placed with you and you have completed all the requirements and steps in your adoption plan. It is important for Adoptive Parents to know that, for a short time after your child has been placed with you and before termination, the Birth Mother and father still retain their parental rights to the child. During this time, they can potentially request that their child be returned to them and you will have to comply. This is known as adoption disruption and is something Adoptive Parents should be aware of. Knowing that this can happen can bring about mental awareness of the possibility even though everyone hopes and prays that this situation does not arise.
The adoption process for Adoptive Parents is long and stressful, but, in the end, you receive an amazing gift that is definitely worth the wait. For more information, speak with your adoption specialist about making a plan, what to expect, and how to proceed should unexpected detours arise.