Each year, there are thousands of families that choose to adopt a child. These aren’t always childless or infertile couples, as many adoptive parents simply feel they have an immense amount of love to share with a child in this world that needs them. Others, feel helplessly urged to come to the defense of children who need a home, and who are desperately awaiting the loving arms and warmth of a family. Adoption raises all sorts of questions far too many to answer in depth; however, the first questions families often have are, should they adopt and can they afford it? You would think, or it would be nice to think that with so many homeless children in this world, adoption would be easier. Sadly, many of the laws put into place to protect these same children keep them in waiting far too long.
Should You Adopt?
The decision to adopt is very personal. You have to be able to recognize your reasons to adopt. There are many couples who are so desperate to have a child of their own and cant that they immediately want to adopt a child to fill that void. Psychologists warn that adopting for this reason and this reason alone may not be such a good idea right away. Placing the expectations, ideals and pinning the cure to your disappointment on another child is only a quick fix to deal with your emotions. You should first take the time to heal from the wound of not being able to have a child of your own, before dipping into adoption. One reason is because the adoption process often takes time, leads to further disappointment, and takes an extremely balanced mindset to master.
If you have the desire to have children or add more children to your home, and can reasonably take care of them and love them, then you should try to adopt. In fact, if every family that could adopt and raise another child would the world could be a forever-changed place with millions of children understanding the parameters of family love. If you want to adopt a child then you should take the steps to do so at a time in your life when you feel ready to handle the challenges and hurdles you will be forced to leap over. In the midst of a divorce, a mid-life crisis, devastation over infertility or suffering from a complete lack of financial stability are not times to undergo the process. Instead, you should work through your issues to ensure you aren’t selfishly taking a child into a life that is dysfunctional. This isn’t to say you have to be perfect in order to adopt because no family is perfect. But you should make sure that you are able to think clearly and act responsibly.
The next step in deciding about whether to adopt is to rise above your emotions of the matter and check into the legal ramifications in your state. Look at the costs, the options and do an immense amount of studying and research so you can have realistic expectations and see the ‘business end’ of adding to your family through adoption. One piece of advice is to contact the Adoptive Families of America and purchase their $5 brochure which will be a comprehensive guide to adoption. This will help you understand the differences between private and international adoptions as well as the thousands of other avenues for adoption available to you. Sadly, this can also be a way to avoid being trapped and tricked into the allotment of false agencies that are only out for your money. Each year, thousands of people in the United States alone lose $10, to $20 thousand dollars a year to scams and fraudulent adoption agencies. Not everyone who seems like they are out to help you really are, and you must be clear about the dark underbelly of these organizations.
Once you have researched and studied, you need to study some more. One of the best allies you can have is to find other families who have been through it. Check out forums, online groups, support groups, and look in your community for groups of adoptive parents. Their insider perception and experience can help you make it through both the best and worst of times as well as help you become ultra prepared. They are an enormous force of talent in helping you avoid red tape, scams, and in the development of the mindset you will need to make it through the adoption process. Far too many parents seek out adoption thinking that the high demand will make it easy, only to find that the process and legal ramifications make it trying at best. Still, the end definitely justifies the means!
Adoption also takes a great deal of unwavering faith. This doesn’t mean that only religious parents will be successful at adoption this means that you have to remain faithful in the process. During your journey, you have to understand and believe that the chosen child for you is slowly but surely making their way into your life. Like all things in life, it may not be a newborn infant or the exact child you envisioned with golden hair and blue eyes but a complete and better surprise than anything you might have ever expected. Keeping your eyes and your faith on the miracle of a child in your life and remaining open to destiny and the power of positive thinking are useful tools of survival in the adoption process.
How Much Does Adoption Cost?
Another question that has to play a part in your adoption proceedings is how much the adoption will cost. The answer to this is not clear-cut and you will find that with fees from all the inclusion agencies it will vary greatly from state to state and country to country. International adoptions, depending on where they are from can cost between $5,000 and $50,000 and can come with an assortment of issues. Some adoptions can cost nothing. On average private adoption in the United States costs about $20,000. Most of the private adoption agencies have set fees that should be disclosed before you choose to adopt. They also have waiting lists that take years to muddle through and mounds of paperwork that need to be filed, filled, and collected. The back and forth can cost money and unforeseen expenditures such as travel also need to be considered.
Costs for adoption through a private attorney, which is a relatively new facet in the adoption world can cost around $25,000 before its all said and done. Many of the adoption costs are set to encompass the fees of the birth mother and often the labor and delivery of the child. In varying states, certain fees are illegal and you should be warned to check with your state regulations about fees before paying any money up front. Over seas adoptions work on a completely different host of fees and legal ramifications, that makes them while easier even more expensive.
Another consideration in the costs of adoption is that time off of work for hearings, screenings and travel as well as other expenses may not be disclosed but should be expected. For many reasons, adoptive parents should be prepared to secure savings, loans or capitalize on other incomes in order to remain both eligible and ready to act should an opportunity arise.
Foster Care and Adoption
Each year in the United States there are around 100,000 children newly placed in foster care with around 500,000 other children already in the system. Sadly, these numbers may sound inflated but actually are not. Many of these kids are transient waiting for the system to declare them wardens of the state and eligible for placement. Others, as wardens of the state are already eligible for adoption and are placed from home to home looking for a place to settle down. Consider that the majority of children over the age of 10, spend the remainder of their juvenile life in the foster care system without finding a home before they are released at 18. This means that there are thousands of children who are in limbo, being looked over because they are not babies. This group is probably the most in need of adoptive parents.
Becoming a foster parent is not easy, but the steps in doing so are well regulated and easy to navigate. Because the need is so high, you may find that you can have a child placed in your home within a month of being accepted as a foster parent. This is a good way to familiarize yourself with children and a powerful way to make a difference in the life of a child. Even if you continue to pursue the adoption process, you will be gaining valuable lessons about life and love from the children who will pass through your home.
Many foster parents (statistics report as many as 2/3rds) adopt children that are in their care. Being a foster parent can also make your resume for adoption more attractive to private adoption agencies as well as state adoption agencies. However, it is important to realize that these settings and relationships are often temporary. Learning to live with the heartbreak of losing a foster child to another home, or to a birth parent you don’t feel is acceptable can be heartbreaking blows to your positive attitude. Foster children also come with a great deal of background that you may not understand nor be qualified to deal with. And this is okay. That is how being a parent is.
If you are thinking about adoption think about this. Millions of children sit alone and unattended to. There is nothing more heartbreaking than to know that thousands of children go to bed each night without a bed, without a meal and without a parent to tuck them in. There are tons of kids who need to be adopted by loving, supportive, and positive homes just like yours. Sadly, it can take nothing short of miracle to unite you with your adoptive child but he or she is out there!
Adoption is one of the best things that you can do with your love. It doesn’t always matter why you want to adopt just that you do. If you approach adoption with a lot of knowledge and insight and are prepared to swallow your heart a time or two, then you should make sure you jump in with both feet! Stand true to your desires to have a child, and never give up no matter how tough things get. You will find that you are not alone and that there is any army of assistance waiting to help you, and waiting to help you place your arms around the child that is meant to be yours.