So you’re thinking of adopting a child. Every year, over 130,000 children are given the gift of a stable and caring home through adoption. While parents often feel joy and hope at the prospect of adding a new member to their family, the actual process can be long and arduous. If you are serious about adopting, you need to commit to providing the love and support a child deserves.
If you want to start the adoption process, then you’ll need an attorney who specializes in family law. They will handle the bulk of the legal work and provide you with expert advice to get you through the process. But the work doesn’t end there. You’ll also need to consider the many challenges that lie ahead.
Here are a few things you should know before adopting a child.
1. Know your reasons
Allow yourself some time to discern your reasons for adopting and consider the possible effects it might have on your life and the life of the child. You should ask yourself a few questions like if you’re stable enough to support another person, if you’re a positive influence on a child, and if you have their best interests at heart.
If you can truthfully say yes to all of those questions, then you have paved the foundation for a smooth adoption process.
2. You don’t need a partner to adopt
Many people assume that you need to be young, straight, and married to be able to adopt. But recent research has shown that over half of all children in America live in nontraditional households. More states are also amending their adoption laws to accommodate same-sex or non-married couples and solo parents.
3. The process doesn’t have to be expensive
You’ve probably heard stories of people spending tens of thousands of dollars for the adoption process. This might be true for private or transnational adoptions, but you can spend less if you adopt a child from the foster care system. In some cases, you can even foster the child while the process is being finalized. Some states also provide stipends to cover living expenses.
4. Don’t force gratitude
When you adopt a child, you’re doing so because you are committed to providing a safe and loving home for them. Parenting can often feel like a thankless job, and while it’s understandable to think that you deserve some appreciation, you should never make an adopted child feel like they owe you gratitude for getting them out of the system.
5. Expect an arduous adoption process
While you might have the child’s best interests at heart, the state still needs to ensure that the child will be better off under your care. That means you’ll have to spend a lot of time and resources proving your case. Red tape and a slow bureaucracy also suggest that the adoption might take longer than expected. A little bit of patience and can help you get through the process.
Every adoption journey is different, but the rewards are great if you persevere through the process. The real work begins once the child is under your care, so you might want to look to others for support. For instance, you can join a group for adoptive parents for guidance and counseling if you feel you need it.