An Exciting New Chapter

Choosing to adopt can bring about feelings of excitement, hesitation, and other emotions all at once.

Many feel that they are called to do more, to add another child to their family through adoption. Maybe your own children are grown, and you wish to offer a loving home to a child in need.

Regardless of what led you to this decision, understand that you have options and can rely on legal guidance throughout the process.

Common Reasons For Adoption

May circumstances can lead to the choice to add to your family through adoption. Many parents are unable to conceive for some reason or another and still wish to have a family of their own. Fertility treatments can be costly and can pose health risks to mothers in certain situations. Adoption can be a viable choice for these families.

Some prospective parents feel that adopting a child at a young age fosters a stronger bond than if they were to encourage an older child. Private adoption can be an excellent opportunity for those who wish to adopt a child who is younger or still an infant.

First Steps to Adoption

Once you have come to the exciting conclusion to add to your family through adoption, one of the first essential steps to take is to decide which agency is right for you. Choosing an agency that meets your needs depends on the type of adoption that you are pursuing.

A private domestic adoption typically involves (though not always) newborns and involves placing the child voluntarily in an adoptive home by the birth parent. Opportunities for private domestic adoptions are normally laid out before the child is born, with the expectation that the child will be placed in an approved home shortly following the birth.

Agencies can assist in private adoptions by seeking out adoption opportunities and matching prospective parents with mothers in need. Expectant birth mothers can be provided with needed services relating to their pregnancy to ensure the safety and care of the child during pregnancy.

Other resources that may be offered through an agency are counseling, whether to the prospective parents to prepare them for the changes in their life or to the birth parent who may need some counseling surrounding their decision after birth.

Completing a Home Study

One of the imperative steps for all prospective parents is to complete a Home Study. Licensed home study professionals will conduct the home study to ensure that the environment is safe for the child and that the parents are fully ready to commit to the new addition to their family.

A home study professional or licensed social worker will visit your home to review several aspects of the home and your family dynamic.

One of the first steps of a typical home study is to review the necessary documents and make sure that all is in order, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, immigration paperwork if it applies, and more.

Items in the home to review are typically whether or not the house is clean and well maintained, especially regarding safety matters and more. Smoke detectors will likely be examined to ensure they are in working order.

Places in the home where baby gates may need to be placed will be inspected for safety concerns. Recommendations may be made to relocate the intended baby gates to provide further safety for the child.

Next, an interview of all relevant family members will take place, allowing an investigation into parenting styles, who will be in charge of the child’s day-to-day needs, and more.

Background checks will likely be performed on all residents in the home to ensure that no one has a history of abuse, neglect, or other criminal behavior that could be detrimental to the child’s best interests.

Depending on the agency you utilize, you may be asked to complete a parenting class, first aid training, CPR training, and more.

Next Steps

Once your home study has been successfully completed, you will wait for an adoption opportunity. The timeline on this can vary greatly, so it’s important to remain patient.

Once you are chosen, it’s essential to communicate between parties swiftly. Depending on the type of adoption you are seeking, you may have significant or minimal communication between the birth mother and prospective parents.

Closed adoptions typically have no contact (with the birth parent; however, it’s important to remain in close contact with the agency that is placing the child), whereas open or semi-open adoptions can foster communication between parties.

Placement of the child is next upon an approved adoption opportunity. This chapter can be intensely emotional and exciting. Take time to soak it all in and ask for assistance as necessary to ensure the environment is as safe and healthy as possible for your new addition.

Post-placement visits are next, with three being conducted following bringing your child home. The first typically occurs within a week. After six months, your attorney can schedule a finalization hearing to ensure that the legal process was accurately followed.

An Exciting Adventure: A New Chapter

Adoption can be one of the best things to ever happen to your family. It’s important to ensure that you follow the steps necessary to keep the adoption on course and remain compliant with laws in your state.

With over three decades of helping clients in our area with their family law needs, we are confident that we can help you with this exciting new chapter.

Contact our office at (623) 267-0026 to schedule your consultation and to learn more. We look forward to helping you grow your family and start this next exciting chapter in your life.