Deciding to grow your family is a large enough decision, but those who decide to adopt have a longer and more involved process to navigate before they can become parents. Before venturing into the unknown, do your research and know what to expect from the adoption pipeline. Read on for helpful information from a Greenville family law attorney or call Christian & Christian to discuss your situation.
Talk with a Counselor
Select How You’ll Adopt
When you decide to adopt, you’ll need to determine how you’ll focus your efforts. Do you want to adopt domestically or internationally? Do you prefer newborns or older children? Do you want to communicate with the birth parents? Do you want to adopt from a private adoption agency or through the state foster care system?
Answering these questions before beginning your search can help you decide what kind of professionals to call and what to tell them when you express your interest.
Choose Your Help
Deciding between private agencies and state-run foster systems can be confusing and difficult. However, many times the most telling parts of a professional agency are their less talked-about statistics and data. Besides the cost of an adoption through certain channels, look for information on the following:
- Wait Times
- Amount of Support
- Number of Disrupted Adoptions
- Hidden Fees
Depending on the type of adoption you wish to pursue, your choices may be narrowed. It’s always important to research thoroughly before committing to a professional.
No matter which agency, attorney or state-run organization you choose, you’ll be evaluated for parental appropriateness. You’ll need to undergo a home visitation, application process and, sometimes, the creation of a personal portfolio with pictures and information about you and your parenting style. The professional will use this information to officially accept you as a client and begin your search for a child.
Depending on your adoption type, your wait time may vary. Once you’re notified of an adoption opportunity, your adoption professional may begin the process of legalizing the adoption. In the case of adopting a newborn, your portfolio may be presented to birth mothers who will choose their child’s new parents. If you are chosen, you may begin contact with the birth mother. Many times, however, you will be responsible for some of the birth mother’s medical expenses and the adoption costs.
At the end of the process, if all goes well, the birth parents’ parental rights will be terminated and transferred to you.
Finalize the Adoption and Decide on Contact Rules
Once you are finally united with your child, your adoption professional will begin finalization. Your child will be living with you for six months before a social worker will request approval of the adoption. After this trial period a judge will award you full, permanent parental rights.
Throughout this process your adoption professional may recommend sending picture or letter updates to the birth parents. Many birth parents look forward to seeing how the child is growing. However, this is all up to personal discretion and depends on the relationship you and the birth parents wish to maintain.
Start Your Journey to Parenthood
Adoption is an exciting and rewarding process, but it can also be frustrating and arduous. Let the Greenville family law firm of Christian & Christian help you navigate the complex adoption process. Contact us online or call (864) 408-8883 to learn more about your adoption options.