How to Adopt the Child of Your Dreams
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Approximately 52,000 foster children were adopted, nationwide, in 2012, however approximately 100,000 foster children still wait for their “forever homes” (National Adoption Center, 2015).
The concept of “parents” has evolved. How? Well, now, the term “parents” not only constitutes “a heterosexual birth mother and a heterosexual birth father” – now, “parents” can be biological grandparents, foster parents, single parents, adoptive parents, same sex parents, kinship placements (i.e. relative parents), etc. A “parent” can be anyone who loves, nurtures, protects, and provides for a child. Just because you aren’t married, or you have a same-sex partner does not mean you can’t be a “mommy” or “daddy.” Moreover, even if you can’t conceive for one reason or another, it is still possible to have the child of your dreams. How? Well, by adopting, of course. Adoption is a wonderful way to change a child’s trajectory in life.
In other words, it is a terrific way to make a difference in a child’s life. There are millions of children, worldwide, that are in desperate need of “forever homes.” These children have been shuffled through orphanages, group homes, and foster care placements so often that they do not know where they truly belong. In addition, they feel hurt, angry, sad, depressed, anxious, and abandoned because they have no one to call “Mom” and “Dad.” Many times foster care children do not care if the people, who adopt them are “straight, gay, bisexual, single, married, rich, poor, young, or old. They just want to be loved and to have a family to call their own.
When you adopt a child, you increase his or her self-esteem, self-confidence, and opportunities. You set them on the path of success. You give them another chance at a happy and fulfilling life. So, even if you can’t have a biological child for some reason, there are plenty of children out there who would cherish your love. If you are interested in learning more about adoption, you have come to the right place. This article will teach you about the different types of adoption, and explain to you the steps you need to take to adopt the child of your dreams. Listed below are steps that will help you adopt the child of your dreams:
Determine What Type of Adoption You Want
The first thing you will need to do on your journey to adopt the child of your dreams is to determine what type of adoption you want to pursue. Adopting domestically provides you with several different options. For instance, you can adopt an older foster care child, opt for an independent adoption (i.e. one arranged through a lawyer, or someone you know or found in the newspaper), or you can adopt a newborn baby. It is important to note that independent and infant adoptions may be closed or open, depending on what the birth parents and adoptive parents decide to do.
In a closed adoption, you may or may not have contact with the birth parents, and you they do; you may decide to stop contact once you have legally adopted the child. In other words, the birth parents will not be able to see or talk to the child, unless it is ok with you. In some cases, you may not have any contact with the birth parents. In fact, you may not even receive medical information or parents’ names when you are selected for placement. In an open adoption, on the other hand, you and the birth parents may decide to try an open (allowing the birth parents to have complete or partial access to their biological child, after he or she is legally adopted).
This type of adoption involves sharing pictures and letters, allowing the birth parents to call the child, communicating with the birth parents about the child’s progress, and/or allowing the birth parents to come to the child’s birthday parties and special events. It is important to note that an open adoption is the most popular adoption; however, even if you and birth parents agree to an open adoption, once the adoption is final, you can cut off communication with them. How? Well, there is no law that says adoptive parents have to let birth parents see or communicate with the child, once the child has been legally adopted. Check with your state’s adoption guidelines to see what specific steps are needed to adopt in your state.
Select an Adoption Agency
The next step you will need to take is to select an adoption agency. Research the different adoption agencies in your state and nationwide. Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to make sure that the agency is reliable and reputable. Adoption agencies, regardless of the state, must be licensed by your state’s licensing board. If the agency you select is not licensed – keep looking for one that is. Also, pay attention to what types of adoptions are offered at each agency. Some adoption agencies specialize in domestic and independent adoptions, while others specialize in international adoptions.
Once you have selected a couple of adoption agencies, contact them and schedule a meeting. Sit down and talk with the agency rep, and share your excitement, questions, and concerns. Request an adoption packet to fill out (i.e. it includes information on the various adoption types, background checks, physicals, a reference sheet, a questionnaire, and an application). Beware the paperwork to adopt is quite large and detailed. So, it will probably take you at least a month to complete it. Your background check will include any past arrests and felonies. Note: If you have been arrested and/or convicted of child abuse or neglect, you may not be able to adopt, depending on your state. It is important to visit prospective adoption agencies. and to talk to others, who have used their services, because it will help you make an informed decision.
Complete a Home Study
After you have successfully completed your application for adoption, and submitted your paperwork, questionnaire, and background check, you will be ready to schedule and complete your home study. What is a home study? Well, it a study that is required to make sure that you are “financially able” to care for your dream child. It normally takes 2 or 3 months to complete, and consists of several visits to your home, and one visit to the adoption agency. The home study case manager (a licensed social worker) will also make sure that your home is not a health hazard.
It is important to keep your home clean, if you want to adopt your dream child. During the home study, the case manager will inspect your home, talk to your relatives, friends, and neighbors, and interview you about safety issues. Also, during the home study, your case manager will ask personal questions about you fertility, extended family members, drugs and alcohol, weapons, siblings, and whether or not you can handle a child when he or she misbehaves. Do not get offended, it is all part of the adoption process. In addition, during one of the home study visits, your case manager will request a statement of health, a home insurance documentation, and income verification.
Search for Your Dream Child
Once you have completed all of the paperwork, home studies, and background checks, you should be approved to adopt. This where the real fun begins – searching for your dream child. Depending on whether you have selected an open or closed adoption, you may meet with birth parents, or your adoption case manager may select a child for you - based on your preferences. You may decide to care for a special needs child, or you may opt for a sibling group. On the other hand, you may dream of having your very own infant to care for, or you may decide you want an older foster care child.
The decision is yours. What do you want? Be honest, and do not say something just because you think it is the “right” thing to say. Why? Well, because the person, who is going to get hurt the most is the child, if you can’t handle the type of child he or she is. If you do not think you are a good fit for a special needs child, be truthful, or if you prefer a specific gender or race – be honest. The purpose of adoption is to find a child a “forever home.” The worst thing that can happen to a “parentless” child is to be jerked out of a home because an adoptive parent feels that he or she can’t “handle” the child.
The last stage of the adoption process includes being selected to adopt your dream child. During this step, you have been matched with your dream child. He or she is waiting on you, and can’t wait to meet you. All the pain, sweat, and tears you went through all pays off when you see your precious child for the first time. Your adoption case manager will place the child in your home, and check on him or her several times, before the adoption is finalized. It normally takes 6 months to a year for an adoption to be finalized, so be patient because the best is yet to come!
National Adoption Center. (2015). Adoption statistics. Retrieved from http://www.adopt.org/adoption-statistics
National Adoption Center. (2015). Adoption: Ten step overview. Retrieved from http://www.adopt.org/ten-step-overview
National Adoption Center. (2015).Types of adoptions. Retrieved from http://www.adopt.org/types-adoptions