There are a variety of options for adoption. Determining what the best way to adopt is depends you. It’s important to first determine if adoption is the right option for you and then you can determine what form of adoption will work best. Depending on your preferences and what you are comfortable with, you and your spouse can narrow down your options.
There’s A Lot To Consider
There are pros and cons to every option and the decision is a very personal one. Make sure you take plenty of time to consider all of your options. Here are some of the key factors when considering what type of adoption to choose:
The amount you are willing and able to pay out of pocket is a huge factor when considering adoption and what avenue of adoption will be the best fit. Cost can very quite from one type of adoption to another and reimbursement options can also very quite a bit. Later in this post I will briefly cover approximate costs.
Open or closed adoption
- Open:An open adoption means that you know who the birth family is and they know who you are. The level of contact after the adoption is finalized can be agreed on between you and the birth mother but ultimately is controlled by you. Common forms of contact include letters, pictures, and even visits with the birth family. At first, at least for us, the thought of an open adoption was scary because we were afraid of the bond our child may have with their birth mother and that it may take away from our role as their parents. The more we learned about open adoption, though, the more we realized that there were a lot of benefits. The biggest benefit for us was the ability to raise the child with them knowing that they have two families who love them and want the best for them in life. When they are able to grow up knowing their birthmother, it can help ease the feelings of abandonment and resent. Another benefit is having access to family medical history for your child.
- Semi-open: Semi-open adoption is similar to open adoption in that it allows for ongoing contact, but is more limited. Generally the contact is through a third party and full identities are not known by the other party.
- Closed:A closed adoption is one where you there is no contact with the birth family and generally no information is released to either party. This means that you have full control over how and when the child learns that they are adopted. If the child decides they want to find their birth family later on in life or if family medical history is needed, it may be difficult to get the desired information.
Children of any age can be adopted but there is a huge difference between adopting an infant and adopting a teenager. Older children are generally easier to adopt than newborns, but they also generally have a more difficult time adjusting to being in a new home. Keep in mind that older children may have been in foster care for a long period of time and they may have had traumatic experiences with their birth or foster parents. If you are leaning toward adopting a newborn, remember that this may come with challenges as well. Many mothers of newborns who are put up for adoption have received little to no prenatal care and may have engaged in drug and/or alcohol use during their pregnancy.
When it comes to adoption there isn’t an instant gratification option, but some options are quicker than others. There are a lot of factors that determine the waiting period before you can bring your child home. With any adoption you will need to go through a home study, which can take some time. If you are adopting a newborn, you will generally be matched prior to the birth and will have to wait for the baby to be born. Older children are generally ready to be adopted more quickly. International adoptions may have additional requirements that take extra time and may require multiple trips to the country you are adopting from. With any adoption there can be additional, unforeseen setbacks that can extend your waiting period so stay patient and know that it is all part of your journey.
How Does It All Come Together?
Here’s how all of these factors apply to each method of adoption:
Foster Care Adoption
- Average Cost: $2500
- Open/Closed: Usually semi-open
- Child Age: older children (average age 8)
- Time Frame: 6-12 months
- Pros: Adopting though the foster care system is generally less expensive and quicker than other methods of adoption. If you are hoping to adopt multiple children, the foster care system generally has sibling groups available.
- Cons: The children in the foster care system have generally experienced some significant trauma with their birth families and/or in the foster system. Not all children in the foster system are available for adoption.
Domestic Agency Adoption
- Average Cost: $40,000
- Open/Closed: Usually open
- Child Age: mostly newborn
- Time Frame: 8-15 months
- Pros: Agencies provide significant services in finding a match with a birthmother. They also provide a variety of resources for adoptive families and birthmothers throughout the adoption process.
- Cons: Agencies can be pricey. They also require a contract for a specified period of time and do not guarantee the adoption of a child during that time.
Domestic Independent Adoption
- Average Cost: $35,000
- Open/Closed: Usually open
- Child Age:usually newborn
- Time Frame:6-12 months
- Pros: Independent adoptions are generally less expensive and move more quickly than agency adoptions. There is no time frame in which a match must be made.
- Cons: There is little to no support for the adoptive family or birthmother. You will be required to find a birthmother on your own.
- Average Cost: $40,000
- Open/Closed: Usually closed
- Child Age: any
- Time Frame: 12-24 months
- Pros: Waiting periods for a child are generally much more predictable in international adoption and you can generally adopt a child of any age.
- Cons:Requires international travel and additional paperwork. Laws in the country you are adopting from may change without notice, stalling or preventing the adoption you have been pursuing.
Whats the Next Step?
So you’ve determined that you want to adopt and what type of adopting is the best fit for you, so now what? Now it’s time to to find an agency or attorney who can help you start moving forward. You have a long road ahead so buckle up and get ready for the ride. If all goes as planned, you will be a parent before you know it.