What you need to know about the adoption process

While adoption takes time and patience, there are a few important things to know that will help in the beginning of the adoption journey.

From the cost of adoption to all the different ways you can adopt, here are 5 things you need to know about the adoption process.

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1. There are several different ways to adopt

Choosing your adoption method is one of the first things you’ll need to do as you start on your adoption journey. Prospective adoptive parents must first choose between domestic and international adoption. Then, within domestic adoption, prospective parents may choose to adopt from an adoption agency, through an adoption lawyer, or through the foster care system.

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Each of these methods comes with its own benefits and challenges. The age of the child, cost of adoption, and the level of your involvement in the process will all be affected by the method you choose. For example, children adopted internationally or through the foster care system are often older than children adopted through agencies or lawyers, according to Adoption Network.

2. Adoption costs money

Adoption can be an expensive process! Including legal fees and travel, most private domestic adoptions cost between $25,000 and $50,000, according to Adoption Network. For international adoptions, meanwhile, the average cost jumps to $30,000 to $80,000.

However, not all adoptions are so pricey. Adopting from foster care is less expensive, and parents willing to adopt through foster care may even be eligible to receive financial assistance for childcare costs, according to AdoptUSKids. While it’s impossible to put a price on parenthood, prospective adoptive parents will need to consider how much money they are feasibly able to spend before choosing their adoption method.

3. Transracial adoption requires research—and respect

When adopting transculturally or transracially, it’s important to do your research. The Child Welfare Information Gateway recommends that prospective parents start by examining their own beliefs about race and ethnicity, and consider the beliefs and attitudes of the important people in their life. Prospective parents should also consider lifestyle factors, like the level of diversity in their community. Finally, it is recommended that prospective parents learn about their adoptive child’s race and culture, and consider ways they can help their child learn about their cultural background.

4. You’ll likely be asked to complete a “home study”

Home studies are an important part of the adoption process. They not only help adoption agencies determine whether your home will be a safe and healthy place to raise a child, but are also an important educational resource for adoptive parents. During a home study, a social worker will visit your home, meet your family members, and collect any required documentation. Home studies also frequently require parents to undergo some form of education regarding the adoption process. In total, the process generally takes between 3 and 6 months.

5. Adoptions can be open or closed

When planning your adoption journey, it’s important to consider whether you want to seek out an open or closed adoption. In open adoptions, biological parents or family members may continue to have contact with the child, while in closed adoptions, children have no contact with their biological family. While there are valid reasons to choose either, according to the Gladney Center for Adoption, open adoptions have become increasingly popular in recent years, both because they can help adopted children with potential identity issues, and because they give adoptive parents access to important health history information about their children.

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If you enjoyed this story, check out what not to ask adoptive parents.

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