How to Adopt: The Ultimate Guide

Considering adoption or have already begun your adoption journey? The Adoptive Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Adoption will walk you through every step of the domestic adoption process from A-Z. Adoption Network strives to educate adopting parents on what adoption involves so that your adoption journey can be as miraculous as it deserves to be!

Adoption Process

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 , home studies , 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 chapter provides a simple breakdown of each step of the adoption journey.
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 , home studies , 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 chapter provides a simple breakdown of each step of the adoption journey.
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Am I Ready to Adopt?

Making the decision to adopt is very much a journey in and of itself. Before deciding to expand your family through adoption, there are several important considerations to think about to determine your readiness for the entire process . For example, you will need to decide what kind of adoption professional you wish to work with, make sure you meet all the requirements necessary to adopt , look into the differences in adoption costs and what factors are at play to ensure you are financially prepared, know your options in creating your adoption plan , and evaluate your readiness to be a parent . This chapter will get you started on some things to think about before taking your next step.
Making the decision to adopt is very much a journey in and of itself. Before deciding to expand your family through adoption, there are several important considerations to think about to determine your readiness for the entire process . For example, you will need to decide what kind of adoption professional you wish to work with, make sure you meet all the requirements necessary to adopt , look into the differences in adoption costs and what factors are at play to ensure you are financially prepared, know your options in creating your adoption plan , and evaluate your readiness to be a parent . This chapter will get you started on some things to think about before taking your next step.
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Where Do I Start?

Beginning your adoption journey is very exciting, but also overwhelming. With many different types of adoption and choices to be made in your adoption journey, your options in creating your adoption plan will rely on your needs and preferences. These elements may include the characteristics of the child you wish to adopt, and your flexibility around those characteristics, the type of contact you wish to have with your child’s birth family, what type of resources you have available to you, and how long you are open to waiting for an adoption opportunity . This chapter will help you learn the basics of beginning your adoption journey the right way.
Beginning your adoption journey is very exciting, but also overwhelming. With many different types of adoption and choices to be made in your adoption journey, your options in creating your adoption plan will rely on your needs and preferences. These elements may include the characteristics of the child you wish to adopt, and your flexibility around those characteristics, the type of contact you wish to have with your child’s birth family, what type of resources you have available to you, and how long you are open to waiting for an adoption opportunity. This chapter will help you learn the basics of beginning your adoption journey the right way.
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What Are the Requirements to Adopt?

Adopting a child requires adopting parents to take full and permanent legal responsibility to care and nurture that child. To determine your eligibility to adopt, you must undergo a home study , where a social worker or agency conducts an assessment of the adopting parent(s) and their home to ensure the parents-to-be are adequately prepared to raise a child. Adoption requirements can vary depending on whether you are adopting internationally or domestically. However, most people are able to adopt, regardless of age, marital status , income, or sexual orientation . Requirements differ for international adoptions , depending on the country you are dealing with. This chapter discusses the standard requirements in every adoption, such as the homestudy process, background checks, age, health status, and more.
Adopting a child requires adopting parents to take full and permanent legal responsibility to care and nurture that child. To determine your eligibility to adopt, you must undergo a home study , where a social worker or agency conducts an assessment of the adopting parent(s) and their home to ensure the parents-to-be are adequately prepared to raise a child. Adoption requirements can vary depending on whether you are adopting internationally or domestically. However, most people are able to adopt, regardless of age, marital status , income, or sexual orientation . Requirements differ for international adoptions , depending on the country you are dealing with. This chapter discusses the standard requirements in every adoption, such as the homestudy process, background checks, age, health status, and more.
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Is Private Infant Adoption Right For Me?

Families pursuing adoption to grow their family have a selection of choices. There are several types of adoption, and each type varies considerably from one to the next. Private infant adoption, also known as independent adoption , is one such type. However, what differentiates private adoption from typical domestic adoption is that adoptive families pursue a child without the aid of an agency. Instead, adoptive parents seek out the birth parents on their own, typically in coordination with an adoption-centered lawyer. With many options out there on adopting a child, it’s important to know which option is right for you and your family. This chapter allows you to think about whether private infant adoption is the perfect fit.
Families pursuing adoption to grow their family have a selection of choices. There are several types of adoption, and each type varies considerably from one to the next. Private infant adoption, also known as independent adoption , is one such type. However, what differentiates private adoption from typical domestic adoption is that adoptive families pursue a child without the aid of an agency. Instead, adoptive parents seek out the birth parents on their own, typically in coordination with an adoption-centered lawyer. With many options out there on adopting a child, it’s important to know which option is right for you and your family. This chapter allows you to think about whether private infant adoption is the perfect fit.
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How Do I Choose The Right Adoption Professional?

Trying to find the right adoption professional to walk you through your adoption journey can seem a bit stressful. When deciding which is the right organization to trust during this process, it is important to know what your options are, the different kinds of adoption professionals that are out there, pros and cons to those different kinds, and what questions to ask when vetting organizations. Even if a particular adoption professional is reputable, professional, and licensed, they still may not be the best fit for your particular needs and preferences. You should definitely do your homework, look at all the available options , and ask the right questions so you can make a fully informed decision that is right for you. This chapter will educate you on what is out there and how to select the adoption professional that best suits your needs.
Trying to find the right adoption professional to walk you through your adoption journey can seem a bit stressful. When deciding which is the right organization to trust during this process, it is important to know what your options are, the different kinds of adoption professionals that are out there, pros and cons to those different kinds, and what questions to ask when vetting organizations. Even if a particular adoption professional is reputable, professional, and licensed, they still may not be the best fit for your particular needs and preferences. You should definitely do your homework, look at all the available options , and ask the right questions so you can make a fully informed decision that is right for you. This chapter will educate you on what is out there and how to select the adoption professional that best suits your needs.
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What Are The Risks, and How Can I Protect Myself?

We’ve all heard the horror stories about the risks of adoption: bait and switch international adoptions, disrupted adoptions, hidden adoption fees, and birth mother scams. You’ve researched, and you’re ready to build a family with adoption, but how do you navigate all the hidden pitfalls? Don’t try to do it yourself. Find a reputable adoption professional to handle your adoption; many pitfalls can be avoided if you have the right counsel from the start. As an Adopting Parent, you need to understand that every adoption situation is unique. Some adoption opportunities have very few “risks”, while others have many more. However, just because an adoption opportunity has seemingly few risks does not mean it is guaranteed to be successful. To be best prepared for whatever may arise during the adoption process, you should consider the risks involved before beginning and decide what degree of risk you are prepared to handle. This chapter will educate you on the potential risks in adoption and how to best protect yourself to avoid those risks.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about the risks of adoption: bait and switch international adoptions, disrupted adoptions, hidden adoption fees, and birth mother scams. You’ve researched, and you’re ready to build a family with adoption, but how do you navigate all the hidden pitfalls? Don’t try to do it yourself. Find a reputable adoption professional to handle your adoption; many pitfalls can be avoided if you have the right counsel from the start. As an Adopting Parent, you need to understand that every adoption situation is unique. Some adoption opportunities have very few “risks”, while others have many more. However, just because an adoption opportunity has seemingly few risks does not mean it is guaranteed to be successful. To be best prepared for whatever may arise during the adoption process, you should consider the risks involved before beginning and decide what degree of risk you are prepared to handle. This chapter will educate you on the potential risks in adoption and how to best protect yourself to avoid those risks.
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How To Fill Out Your Adoption Application

No matter what kind of adoption you choose to do or the kind of adoption professional you choose to work with, you will have to fill out an application. This application will ask you to fill out a lot of questions regarding details such as: finances , religion , employment , previous marriages , and your adoption preferences. This chapter will guide you on why these questions are asked and how to answer them truthfully and thoroughly.
No matter what kind of adoption you choose to do or the kind of adoption professional you choose to work with, you will have to fill out an application. This application will ask you to fill out a lot of questions regarding details such as: finances , religion , employment , previous marriages , and your adoption preferences. This chapter will guide you on why these questions are asked and how to answer them truthfully and thoroughly.
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Wait Times

The time period between hiring an adoption professional and being selected by a birth mother is often called, “wait time.” “How long do I have to wait to adopt a child?” This is probably the most common question asked by Adopting Parents. Contrary to the common misconception of adoption usually involving long wait times that can last several years or more, the average wait time in a domestic infant adoption is less than 2 years. This makes sense considering there are roughly 20,000 infant adoptions that occur within the U.S. each year. However, there are factors and decisions you can make that can minimize your wait time, such as your preferences pertaining to the child you wish to adopt. In other words, the more open you are in your preferences, you have a greater chance at shortening your wait time. This chapter discusses the different variables that go into wait times, how you can minimize it, and how to best utilize that time.
The time period between hiring an adoption professional and being selected by a birth mother is often called, “wait time.” “How long do I have to wait to adopt a child?” This is probably the most common question asked by Adopting Parents. Contrary to the common misconception of adoption usually involving long wait times that can last several years or more, the average wait time in a domestic infant adoption is less than 2 years. This makes sense considering there are roughly 20,000 infant adoptions that occur within the U.S. each year. However, there are factors and decisions you can make that can minimize your wait time, such as your preferences pertaining to the child you wish to adopt. In other words, the more open you are in your preferences, you have a greater chance at shortening your wait time. This chapter discusses the different variables that go into wait times, how you can minimize it, and how to best utilize that time.
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Creating An Adoption Plan

When choosing adoption, every family has their own preferences of how they would like their adoption situation to be. For example, Adopting Parents generally have the choice of whether they would like to have an open adoption or closed adoption or whether they would like to adopt a boy or girl . They can choose to parent a child of their same race or of a different race. They can decide whether they are willing to parent a child with special medical or developmental needs. The Adopting Parents may choose to parent one child or be open to multiple children at once. These choices are yours to make when creating your adoption plan with your adoption professional. This chapter discusses how to create an adoption plan that is right for you and your family.
When choosing adoption, every family has their own preferences of how they would like their adoption situation to be. For example, Adopting Parents generally have the choice of whether they would like to have an open adoption or closed adoption or whether they would like to adopt a boy or girl . They can choose to parent a child of their same race or of a different race. They can decide whether they are willing to parent a child with special medical or developmental needs. The Adopting Parents may choose to parent one child or be open to multiple children at once. These choices are yours to make when creating your adoption plan with your adoption professional. This chapter discusses how to create an adoption plan that is right for you and your family.
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What Do I Need To Know About The Birth Parents?

We at ANLC understand that our relationship with a Birth Mother is the defining foundation of an entire adoption, so we do our best to establish a trusting relationship with her right from the start. When it comes to Birth Parents, there are some things Adopting Parents should know before beginning the adoption process… How are Birth Parents screened? What kind of relationship do you want to have with the Birth Parents before and after the birth? Do Birth Parents change their minds about adoption? What kind of details pertaining to medical history and health of the baby will you be able to receive? What is a Birth Mother scam ? All these questions are answered in this chapter of your Adoption Guide.
We at ANLC understand that our relationship with a Birth Mother is the defining foundation of an entire adoption, so we do our best to establish a trusting relationship with her right from the start. When it comes to Birth Parents, there are some things Adopting Parents should know before beginning the adoption process… How are Birth Parents screened? What kind of relationship do you want to have with the Birth Parents before and after the birth? Do Birth Parents change their minds about adoption? What kind of details pertaining to medical history and health of the baby will you be able to receive? What is a Birth Mother scam ? All these questions are answered in this chapter of your Adoption Guide.
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How Do I Share My Adoption Decision With Others?

How to tell your family and friends you are adopting is not always as clear or as easy for some Adopting Parents as it is for others. When a woman finds out she’s pregnant, people will find out sooner or later that she’s expecting, whether she voices it or not. However, when a family decides to adopt, deciding when and how to share their adoption decision is slightly more complicated, considering that an adoption is an uncertain process with an undefined “due date.” Additionally, most of your family and friends will have some sort of an opinion or preconceived notion about adoption and may voice those opinions and/or notions upon finding out you’re adopting. This chapter discusses how to tell your family friends of your decision and how to deal with certain questions and reactions from others.
How to tell your family and friends you are adopting is not always as clear or as easy for some Adopting Parents as it is for others. When a woman finds out she’s pregnant, people will find out sooner or later that she’s expecting, whether she voices it or not. However, when a family decides to adopt, deciding when and how to share their adoption decision is slightly more complicated, considering that an adoption is an uncertain process with an undefined “due date.” Additionally, most of your family and friends will have some sort of an opinion or preconceived notion about adoption and may voice those opinions and/or notions upon finding out you’re adopting. This chapter discusses how to tell your family friends of your decision and how to deal with certain questions and reactions from others.
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What Happens At The Hospital Before, During & After The Birth?

There are some things you can and should do to prepare for the birth of your baby. Adopting Parents should make sure that they are as prepared as possible for what happens at the hospital before, during and after the birth. Making sure the hospital experience goes as smoothly as possible requires some important steps that Adopting Parents should take in advance. Planning ahead will ensure that everyone’s needs are known, respected and met - and that the hospital experience is one that will be remembered positively for all. This chapter helps navigate Adopting Parents through the hospital experience.
There are some things you can and should do to prepare for the birth of your baby. Adopting Parents should make sure that they are as prepared as possible for what happens at the hospital before, during and after the birth. Making sure the hospital experience goes as smoothly as possible requires some important steps that Adopting Parents should take in advance. Planning ahead will ensure that everyone’s needs are known, respected and met - and that the hospital experience is one that will be remembered positively for all. This chapter helps navigate Adopting Parents through the hospital experience.
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