What makes a family? The answer to this question may vary from one individual to the other. On average, most people believe a relationship by blood is necessary among individuals to be the members of a family. Then again, there are examples of relationships that tie two or more individuals with the knots of belongingness despite them being not related to one another by blood. The best example of it is the adoption of a child by a couple.
The idea of adopting children to provide them with a permanent home has been gaining traction over the last few years. When done in the right way, it sets the foundation for a strong family relationship which even exceeds the emotional bonding of blood relationships. By ticking all the right boxes of requirements of both emotional and legal aspects, one can make it possible in practical terms.
From procedure to the cost, here are the vital aspects linked to adoption which one must know before going ahead with the decision.
What is Adoption?
In technical language, adoption is the act of legally adopting a child by a couple for a lifelong relationship. Those couples who adopt a child are called adopters, whereas the adopted children are addressed as adoptees.
But as much fascinating as it sounds on the surface, adopting a child is easier said than done. It is a big decision for a couple. It goes beyond adding a new member to a family. Opting for this decision implies taking the responsibility of bringing up a child in the best possible manner. So, couples need to deliberate upon several factors before deciding on the matter. This helps avoid confusion or complications at the subsequent stages.
There are several ways of adopting a child. Because the rationale of an adopter in taking a child legally as their own goes beyond the responsibility of parenthood, it is important to do one’s homework right before proceeding with the decision.
Depending on your requirements and preferences, you can go for any one of the following ways to adopt a child.
- Adopting a child from an adoption agency: Several private and public agencies have the license to allow prospective parents to adopt children. Such agencies deal with the children who face abuse, are orphans or have been abandoned. Some private or public organizations also keep those children who are grown up but do not have a permanent home.
- Independent adoption: Some states in the US allow the adoption of children from independent sources. This includes the adoption of a child as a result of an arrangement between the actual mother or father and an adoptor. While this system exists in the US, it is not permissible in all the states. Therefore, a couple must exercise caution while going for this type of adoption. To be on the safe side, it is recommended that a couple must consult an attorney and go through the formalities of paperwork if required. The actual parents of a child may maintain contact even after their child’s adoption. If done legally, the rights of parenthood remain with those who adopt the child.
- Identified adoption: This form of adoption is intermediate to agency and independent adoptions. For a change, this enables adopters to bypass the need for waitlisting. In this method of adoption, adoptive parents hunt for a mother who looks for suitable adoptors. Based on proper analysis and mutual discussion, both parties try to enter into an agreement. In case both the parties agree for the adoption procedure, they approach an adoptive agency to carry out the paperwork and other formalities. As a spin-off, it allows an adopting couple to choose the child they would want to add to their family legally.
- International adoption: Among all forms of adoption, international adoption is the most complicated. The involvement of both state and international laws make it a complex procedure. For this type of adoption to go through without any hiccup, those who adopt a child need to abide by the laws and carry out all the formalities as directed by the State Department. This involves proofs relating to the legal permission and counseling for biological parents and clearance for the adoption of a child from the host nation to which he/she belongs. All these practices are centered on preventing adoption scams or the fraudulent practices linked to adoption.
- Stepparent adoption: This form of adoption occurs when the new spouse of a parent adopts a child from another partner. Generally, this is a simple procedure in comparison to other versions of adoption. However, one may need to go through a long list of paperwork if one of the parents of a child goes missing or is unavailable for communication regarding adoption. A lawyer may step in to help an adoptor in such cases.
- Kinship adoption: Sometimes the relative or relatives may want to adopt a child due to the incapacitation or death of his/her biological parents. This way of adopting a child is known as kinship adoption or relative adoption. It is generally observed with uncles, aunts, and grandparents.
- Adoption by same-sex couples: As the name suggests, this form of adoption is for same-sex couples. It became legal in all the states in the US on June 26, 2017, by the order of the US Supreme Court.
Is Adoption Right for you?
Given the fact that adoption is a decision that influences the lives of a child as well as those who adopt him/her, it is important to make a note of a few things before finalizing the decision.
Not sure about whether you should go ahead with the decision to adopt a child? Help yourself by asking the following questions:
- Do you wish to have a child despite fertility issues?
- Do you feel the need to add another child to your family?
- Do you want to offer happiness, security and love to a child who you believe has not had a great start?
- Are you single and wish to do parenting?
If your answer to any of the aforementioned questions is yes, then adoption is the way forward for you. Regardless of your cultural background, marital status or gender, you may be better off with adoption if you wish to take a child legally for any of the reasons stated above.
Process for adopting
For adopting a child successfully by abiding the law, you need to adopt a systematic step-by-step procedure. This will help you overcome all the legal barriers and assure you will not have to face any hassle later on.
Here is a handy checklist of all that you need to follow for carrying out the process as per the law.
- Prepare a list of possible forms or adoptions that align with your needs and preferences.
- Narrow down the list and choose the form of adoption that you wish to opt for.
- Do your research to find the best adoption professional and reach out to them.
- After applying for adoption via the legal procedure, your request may be put under wait listing. Wait for your turn.
- Talk to prospective birth parents before finalizing your plan to adopt a child.
- Finalize the procedure to take the child legally.
- Take part in the placement contact followed by adoption.
The Cost of Adopting a Child
As far as the cost of adopting a child is concerned, it depends on the type of adoption. If you choose to adopt one from foster care, you may complete the procedure with a nominal or no charge. However, you may be charged a significant amount of money if you choose other options.
If you choose to adopt a child internationally or from a private agency, you may need to spend somewhere between $5,000 to $40,000, after giving or taking away a few dollars. This does not include the fees of an attorney and paperwork, though. The charges of hiring an attorney can range from $8,000 to $40,000. You can cut down the spending by a significant margin by doing your homework right.
For parenting a child, there is no better choice than adoption. While you may have your reason for deciding on this option, the fact remains that it is a major decision that can go either way for you. With proper research, coupled with informed choices, you can reap the benefits of adopting a child that can exceed your expectations as a parent. Bear all the requisite aspects in mind and implement them to make your adoption a great decision for the happiness of your child and family.