Once you decide to adopt, it is only natural that you will be anxious to get started down the path that will lead you to your child. But due to the procedures involved and the state laws, there is still a long way to go. Despite your excitement, always be cautious and careful while proceeding towards adoption. As prospective adoptive parent(s) or families in waiting, there are various steps you need to take to ensure an easy, safe and secure adoption.
Choose the right adoption services: Adoption law is difficult. You will need an adoption attorney and/or an agency to assist you with navigating through the necessary channels.As a prospective adoptive parent, your first step is to talk to adoption attorneys and agencies about the services they provide. This information will assist you in choosing an adoption attorney or agency that is best suited to your specific needs. Adoption agencies differ in the jurisdiction and nature of the supportive services they provide. Attorneys also differ depending on the types of adoptions they have experience and familiarity with and the jurisdictions and states in which they practice. To help narrow your choices, you need to know what type of adoption to pursue. You need to seek out different agencies or attorneys depending on whether you decide upon a domestic adoption, an international adoption, an infant adoption, or adoption of a foster child. It is necessary to gather adequate information about the history, procedures and fees of the attorneys or agencies you speak with to ensure that it is the right fit for you.
Provide accurate information and appropriate documents to prepare family profile: As required by law, a social worker must prepare a Home Study or Family Profile. It is used to be submitted to the court and, potentially, to prospective matches. The report reflects the abilities of your family to provide a decent and healthy upbringing to the child. The social worker will try to find information, such as where the child will eat, sleep, play, study, etc. As part of the preparation of this report the social worker may visit you a number of times seeking information about your family background, educational background, employment status, health status, and parenting experience (if any). The social worker will prepare a description of your neighborhood and community. You will also be asked to present documents such as financial statements, tax records, marriage license, divorce decrees (if any), and birth certificates. Any false information you provide will be detrimental to your adoption prospects. Therefore, you much be honest, sincere and accurate.
Locate and decide on the right child for you: Some couples begin an adoption with the child already located through a family friend or acquaintance. Other parents may locate their child online through social networking. An adoption agency can assist some families with locating a child based upon preferences such as age, gender, race, and physical features. The agency will show you profiles of children waiting for adoptive families and/or of pregnant women wanting to place their newborn children for adoption. While deciding on the right choice for you, you need to evaluate your community support, the financial resources to assist you with adoption fees, and your family dynamics.
Gather adequate information about birth parent(s) and/or children before a personal meeting: As part of the procedure, often times adopting parents and the birth parent(s) and/or children are given a chance to meet each other. Meeting with a birth parent allows you to not only see and interact with such an important person in your adoption experience, but also allows you to discuss important issues about your values, wishes, and expectations. It is a good idea to prepare a list of questions and talking points to make the meeting as productive and enlightening as possible. A successful meeting is one which provides both parties an opportunity to get to know each other, as well as knowledge of what each person expects a potential adoption to look like.
Decide between open and closed adoption: This is an important issue that needs to be discussed and decided upon between the birth parent(s) and the adopting parents at the outset. Both the types of adoption have their own share of advantages and disadvantages. Do some research. There are many studies that have been done about the benefits and problems of one type of adoption over the other. If you decide on an open adoption, have a written agreement specifying the frequency of future communication and the type of communication. These decisions need to be set in stone to prevent issues in future.
Seek and obtain adequate information on the medical, family, and social history of birth parent(s):
You need to know the medical, family and social history of birth parent(s).You need to know whether the birth mother had prenatal care and took prenatal vitamins. You need to know whether there is any history of hereditary diseases in the families of the birth parents. You have to find out if the birth mother abused alcohol or drugs during her pregnancy. If you fail to discover this information, your pediatrician will not be able to provide the best care for your child and preempt possible medical issues.
Discuss and decide about the hospital plan: Where will the delivery take place? Is the hospital adoption-friendly? Who will pay the birthing expenses? Who will be present during the birth? Who will first hold the child? These are matters that need to be discussed and decided upon well in advance. Set up a meeting with the hospital social worker several weeks before the due date to share the birth plan and discuss any questions that you or the social worker may have. The birth of a baby is an emotional time and often people react differently than they expect. A hospital plan will give you a foundation to fall back on when emotions run high and minds get cloudy.
The joy of finalizing your adoption will be one of the most important moments of your life. But the path is not easy. Foresight and careful planning ensure that there are fewer roadblocks along the way. If you want to discuss your adoption questions or options further, please contact an experienced adoption attorney and/or a reputable adoption agency.