If you are contemplating adoption as an option for building your family, then you already know it is not a consideration that comes lightly. Adoption is a lengthy process that takes a lot of research, preparation, and even introspection. We understand that getting started can feel intimidating, so we suggest getting started with an adoption preparation checklist so it is less overwhelming. Here are some things you should consider as you are researching all things adoption and working through your adoption preparation checklist.
Research the Adoption Process & More
Before jumping into any big decision, the best thing you can do is conduct thorough research. When it comes to adoption, there are a lot of factors to consider and decisions to make. Undergoing the adoption process is one of the most life altering, but rewarding decisions you will ever make for yourself and your family, which is why research and preparation are so important in this case.
The first thing you should consider is the method in which you will adopt. Do you want to adopt domestically, internationally, or through foster care? Each type has their pros and cons that you will need to consider.
Once you have determined which adoption type you are most comfortable with, you can research what the adoption process entails. This includes familiarizing yourself with the different types of post-placement communication, terminology related to adoption, state, federal, and country regulations that may affect you, and, most importantly, the adoption professional that is best suited to help you through the process.
Taking time to research the different aspects of adoption can also allow you to assess your emotional readiness for undergoing the adoption process and ultimately bringing a new child into your family.
Learn Which Post-Placement Adoption Type is Best For You
There are different post-placement adoption types that you can choose from, including open adoption, semi-open adoption, and closed adoption. Each adoption type essentially defines the amount of communication you will have with the birthmother after the baby has been placed with your family. You should take some time to understand what each type is defined as so you can determine what you are most comfortable with.
Something to keep in mind is that each situation is different and what may work for one family may not work for yours. With proper reflection, research, and communication with your partner and adoption professionals, you will be able to determine which adoption type is the best for you.
Create an Adoption Support System
It’s no secret that adoption is a long, arduous process for families who are seeking to bring a child into their family. Your adoption journey is not one that should be taken alone – remember the saying, “It takes a village.” You will need a robust support system in place throughout the journey, even after your child has been placed with you and you begin your lives together.
We suggest communicating your adoption goals to family and friends who are closest to you. This allows them time to process your decision and ask any questions they may have so that they can be supportive of you during your adoption journey.
Additionally, you should check your local area to see if there are any adoption support groups you can join, or even look around online so you can start making connections and building a community with other adoptive families. Once you have this checked off your list, the road ahead should not feel so daunting as it will not be traveled alone.
Make Sure You Can Meet Adoption Requirements
No matter which state you adopt in, there are minimum requirements you will have to meet in order to adopt a child. These do vary state to state, so we encourage you to do your research and also communicate with your adoption professional to understand your state’s requirements.
Regardless of the state you live in, it must be determined that your home is a safe and secure place for a child to grow and that you are prepared in all ways to be a parent. For this reason, a home study must be conducted by a licensed social worker. This is considered by many to be one of the most difficult parts of the process because it evaluates various factors in depth, such as your background, home environment, financial ability, medical status, relationships with others, and so much more. While it is difficult, the successful completion of the home study gets you one step closer to connecting with a birthmother.
To get ready to undergo the home study, you can start by gathering important documents that the social worker will need to review, like birth certificates, marriage licenses, medical statements, and financial statements. You can also start ensuring your house is ready for the home inspection. The social worker will be looking out for things that will ensure the safety of a potential child like working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, covered electrical outlets, functioning heating and cooling, and screened in windows.
The adoption professional you are working with will have resources that can support you through the home study process, so when in doubt you should communicate with them. Additionally, if you’ve already connected with other adoptive or prospective adoptive families, they can offer emotional support and guidance, as this is a process they have likely already been through.
Create an Adoption Budget
No matter how you swing it, adoption is expensive and unexpected costs will arise. The average cost of domestic adoption in the United States ranges from $20,000 to $45,000 or more. That is a formidable number, but creating a budget for expected and unplanned expenses can really help you feel like it is a mountain you can climb. Budgeting will ensure you will be financially ready to take on the adoption process and a new addition to the family. It will also provide you with an opportunity to research the costs associated with it, and get an idea of what other expenses could potentially crop up that you should prepare for.
While you are creating an adoption budget, you can also look into adoption financing options like loans, grants, and fundraisers that can help ease the stress of paying for those expenses. Additionally, there is a federal adoption tax credit available to all adoptive families that you will qualify for after a successful placement.
Know There Will Be Good Days and Bad Days
Arguably, the most important aspect of your adoption preparedness is keeping a good mindset. There will be good days, bad days, and everything in between. As you go through the process, there will be aspects you can’t control that will likely frustrate you, and that’s ok. Having this awareness will help you stay patient, optimistic, and hopeful even on days that aren’t the best. Remember, you have your support system and your adoption professionals that are rooting for you and your family all throughout the way!