Some individuals and couples have always known they wanted to adopt. Others turn to adoption after pursuing fertility treatment and realizing that it is unlikely that they will have a biological child.
Whichever way you come to adoption you will need to ask yourself “Am I ready to adopt? Have I grieved for the biological child I cannot have? Can I embrace an infant or child who does not have genetic ties to me?”
You will want to explore the world of adoption, orienting yourself to the realities of this family building method. For information on the ten biggest adoption mythis, click here.
Another way to get started is to imagine the type of child you wish to adopt. Is he/she an infant, a toddler, or a school-aged child? If you are certain you want to adopt an infant, you will be pursuing a domestic adoption because children adopted internationally are always older.
If you have selected domestic adoption there are other choices to make. You may opt for an agency adoption where professionals find a pregnant woman wishing to place her child. The agency will then show her your profile. If she chooses you, then you will begin to build a relationship with her. If the idea of having a relationship with a birthmother terrifies you, read “Vanquishing Birthmother Fear.”
Or, you may decide to pursue a private adoption where you choose an attorney who specializes in adoption and he/she helps you advertise in order to find a potential birthmother. (Some states require that you use an agency.)
However you go about adopting domestically, you will need to get pre-certified, a process which includes completing an adoption home study.
Another way to adopt domestically is through the foster care system. There are thousands of "waiting children" available for adoption who are in foster care through no fault of their own, range in age from birth to 18, and are simply waiting for a family and a place to call home. Unlike other forms of adoption, there are few or no costs to adopt and financial and emotional supports exist for the children and families formed.
You may be someone interested in adopting internationally. In order to do this you will first need to engage an adoption agency with a program in the country you are considering. Since countries open and close all too often, you may want to choose an agency that has programs in two countries you’re interested in. The State Department has information about requirements on a country- by- country basis.
No matter how you adopt, you can benefit from connections to other parents who have already adopted. If there is an adoptive parents group where you live, consider joining it. You will get much needed support and information. And, take a look at The AFA library for additional articles on adoption.