If you’re interested in pursuing the adoption process, it’s important that you understand the basics about adoption first. Adoption is a wonderful way to grow a family and give a child a better chance at life, but it can be complicated — which is why it’s recommended that all prospective birth parents and adoptive parents learn all the adoption information they can before moving forward with this process.
There are many different things you should know about adoption, but here are some of the most important.
What is Adoption?
There are several ways that adoption can be completed. Generally speaking, adoption occurs when new parents bring a child (who cannot be cared for by their legal or biological parents) into their family to become full and legal members. This can be completed when a child is an infant or when they’re older and living in the foster care system, within the United States or from a foreign country, or other situations (like the adoption of a relative, stepchild, adult, etc.).
Each adoption is unique, depending on the kind of communication between adoptive and birth parents, the process behind legally securing a child’s membership in a family, the necessary consent of the child’s biological parents and more. If you’re looking for more adoption information on these different processes, it’s a good idea to research websites about adoption or speak to an adoption professional.
Statistics About Adoption
While adoption in the past was secretive and rarely (or inaccurately) represented in pop culture, today it’s a very popular way to create a family. Just how popular?
- According to the 2000 census, approximately 2.5 percent of all children in the U.S. were adopted. Now, as time as passed and the practice has become more common, that number is likely to have increased.
- The state with the highest adoption rate is Alaska (3.9 percent of children) and the Midwest is the region with the highest adoption rate (2.6 percent).
- About 28 percent of adoptions are transracial, meaning the adopted child is of a different race than their adoptive parents.
- Almost 200,000 of the children adopted and listed in the 2000 census were born in another country.
Clearly, because these statistics were reported at the turn of the millennium, the number of children and families involved in the adoption process has likely increased since then, adding to adoption’s popularity.
Questions You Have About Adoption
Whether you’re a prospective birth parent or adoptive parent, if you’re unfamiliar with the adoption process, you probably have a fair amount of questions about adoption and how it works. One of the best ways to answer these questions is to contact an adoption professional, who can discuss how your individual situation may impact your adoption process.
To get you started, we’ve answered some of the common questions you may have:
- How long does adoption take?
If you’re a prospective birth mother, know that it is never too late for adoption — and you can start the process at any time. If you decide on adoption after you’ve given birth, that’s completely okay, too. No matter when you choose adoption, you will always have the same choices when it comes to the family you want to adopt your baby, any financial assistance you may receive and what kind of communication you want with the adoptive family.
If you’re a prospective adoptive parent, how long your adoption process will take will depend on which adoption process you choose. Typically, if you adopt through foster care or a private domestic infant adoption, you will receive a placement within an average of 12 months. If you adopt internationally, your process may take longer based on the other country’s requirements for adoption. Your adoption professional will help you understand how to reduce your wait time.
- What are the requirements for adoption?
When you’re a prospective birth mother, the only requirement for choosing adoption is that you’re sure it’s the right choice for you. Adoption is a permanent decision, and while you can change your mind at any point during the process, once you sign your consent to adoption, you cannot get your child back.
Prospective adoptive parents have a few more requirements to start the adoption process. These requirements are all used to determine that a prospective family can provide a safe and stable home for an adoptive child. You should be prepared to complete an adoption home study, to afford the expenses of adoption, to undergo criminal and background screening and more. Your adoption professional will walk you through all of these requirements to make sure that you’re cleared to adopt.
- How much does adoption cost?
One of the biggest questions people have about adoption is how expensive it is. Fortunately, if you’re a prospective birth mother, adoption will always be completely free to you — and you may even receive financial assistance for your living and pregnancy-related expenses.
If you’re a prospective adoptive parent, the expense of your adoption will vary based on the adoption process that you choose. For example, if you choose foster care adoption, your expenses will be few or even nothing at all, while private domestic and international adoptions can cost as much as $50,000 or more. Before deciding on a particular adoption process, it’s important to understand the pertinent financial adoption information for you and how you can prepare to afford this expense.
Where You Can Learn More About Adoption Information
Adoption can seem like a complicated process at the beginning but, as you take the time to learn more about adoption, you’ll better understand whether adoption is right for you — and, if so, which process is best for you and your family.
One great resource for information on adoption is an adoption professional, whether that be an agency, an adoption lawyer or a similar organization. In addition, you may wish to research more about adoption with these websites:
- Considering Adoption
- The Child Welfare Information Gateway of the U.S. Children’s Bureau
- Adoptive Families
Adoption is truly a life-changing decision, so whether you’re a pregnant woman considering adoption or a hopeful parent, it’s important to know as much as you can about adoption. By being fully prepared, you can help ensure that your adoption process goes as smoothly as possible — and is a success in the end.