With a New Year comes new beginnings, and this year you might finally feel that it’s time to start building your family. If you are considering doing this through adoption, you definitely have a lot of things to think about and learn.
Needless to say, adoption is a big decision. It is an act that will allow you to experience the joys (and struggles) of being a parent, but you should know that there is no such thing as an easy adoption process. It can take months between your initial decision and the final signatures that give you the legal rights over your child.
So before you begin the adoption process, there are a few steps that you need to take.
4 Steps to Take before Starting the Adoption Process
Ask yourself the big questions
Before any person or couple adopts, it is important to know that they are as ready as they can be for the emotions and responsibilities that they are about to take on. You must ask yourself the following questions before you take the plunge:
- Are You Ready to Be Honest And Open With Agency Workers? Social workers and adoption agencies conduct very thorough checks to make sure that they are helping children live with responsible and capable parents. You do not have to be perfect, but be ready to be honest about your health, history, and hesitations regarding parenthood.
- Why Are You Adopting? Why do you want to adopt in the first place? This is a question you will be asked throughout the adoption process multiple times. The Human Rights Campaign suggests asking yourself if you have had a major life change in the past 12 months that may have spurred your desire to adopt. If this is the case, you may want to wait until you have really sat on the decision and are sure you want to go through with adoption.
- What Kind of Child Can You Best Care For? You may have certain preferences when it comes to a child, but you must look to your abilities as a parent before anything else. What kind of child will receive the best love from you? What kind of care can you provide?
Discuss the big issues with your spouse
There are a lot of big decisions and places for a potential change of heart throughout the adoption process. Discuss all of your preferences beforehand so you do not run into any disagreements that may hold up the adoption process.
You should not just limit yourself to the big questions when you are getting ready to adopt, either – have an open discussion with your partner about all of these issues. Does it matter where the child is from Florida, America, or a different country? Does age, gender, or family history matter? If you are asked to adopt a pair of, or multiple siblings, will that affect your decision?
Plan your budget
Just like any addition to your family, adoption costs quite a bit of money. Before you begin the adoption process, budget for the following expenses:
- Adoption Fees (registration, fees for an adoption lawyer, etc.)
- Baby-proofing your home, your child’s room, etc.
- Your child’s college or savings fund
- For a full checklist, click here.
Hire a lawyer
While lawyers are commonly hired for legal issues like criminal defense or divorce, there are lawyers that specialize in adoption and other family matters. You do not need to have a lawyer hovering over your shoulder while you decide whether you want to adopt a boy or a girl, but they can be useful if you arrive at a sticky situation. Adoption fraud does occur, and can leave you out of thousands of dollars and without the child you have been dreaming about.
For more information about how a lawyer can help you through the adoption process, take advantage of our free 20 minute consultations today.