From the moment you first decide to adopt a child, you begin the fulfilling journey of adoption. The road of adoption planning can seem daunting at the beginning, but there are things you can do to make getting started easier.
Do your research
As with any journey, adoption planning begins with research. A good first step is to learn about adoption. Speaking to those who have traveled this road before you is a good way to get information about adopting in your area. There are many books and magazines dedicated to adoption that can help answer questions you will have as a prospective adoptive parent. There are also online resources, like adoption agency websites, forums, and blogs that can give you more insight into adoption.
Investigate types of adoptions
You should also consider what kind of adoption you want to seek. There are several ways to grow your family through adoption, and figuring out what way is right for your family is important. Good questions to ask at the start of adoption planning are:
- Would you prefer a domestic or foreign adoption?
- Would be open to fostering to adoption?
- What is your preferred age for an adoptive child?
- Would you rather an open or closed adoption?
- Do you want to work with an agency or pursue an independent adoption?
Consider hiring a social worker
It’s important to consider everything to find the best fit for your family. A social worker is a great resource that can help you answer the questions outlined above. He or she can also help you navigate your state’s adoption laws.
Explore adoption agencies
Once you have a good idea about how you want to adopt, you can begin to explore the logistical side of adoption by speaking to agencies. This is a good time to get an idea of how long the adoption process will take, figure out what kind of legal support the agencies provide, and what you must provide for yourself. The adoption process will differ slightly from agency to agency in terms of children placed, costs incurred, and the training, assessment, and placement procedures.
After you have a short list of agencies, speak with parents who have adopted through the agencies. This will allow you to get a better idea of what each agency will be like. This is also a good time to start collecting references for your adoption. All the information you gather will help you assess the agencies and pick one that is right fit for you and your family. From here, a social worker will help guide you through the rest of the adoption process.
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