Adopting A Child

Adopting A Child – What are the factors?
Are you a couple who is childless or wants to expand your family by adopting a child? Researching the adoption process unearths a dizzying amount of information while more questions arise. Do we want to adopt domestically or internationally? How much is this going to cost? What are the legal requirements for adoptive parents? How do we get started?

First and foremost, prospective parents should be in agreement regarding adoption. Parenting is a team effort and both parties should be united in the effort. Couples should put an emphasis on communication and openly sharing your thoughts and feelings during the process.

Prospective parents will go through an adoption organization, lawyer, or foster care agency. Once one of these groups has been contacted, a home study will take place and certain factors will be considered in the evaluation. The home study focuses on whether or not the home is a stable and safe environment for a child. Some of the factors considered are:

  • Marital status: It is easier for a married couple to adopt than a single person. Some birth parents may feel that two parents can give their child more rounded attention than a single parent.
  • Length of marriage: A common requirement for adoptive parents is that they should be married for at least three years.
  • Previous marriages: As long as the present marriage is stable and the couple agrees on adopting, previous marriages aren’t a problem.
  • Age of adoptive parents: The legal age for adoptive parents is 18 to 40 years of age. Some agencies will consider older couples.
  • Maximum age exceptions for international adoptions: age and maturity are considered an advantage in many foreign countries where children are available for adoption.
  • Health issues: Prospective parents must be in good health. Some agencies will prevent adoptions based on weight, whether it’s underweight or obesity. Premature deaths are associated with weight issues and this practice protects the child from possibly being orphaned a second time.

Adopting A Child – What Are The Criteria?
Consider the following criteria for adopting a child:

  1. Mandatory Legal Criteria: These are the procedural and legal requirements set by the laws of the state and country where the adoption takes place. This is where the adoptive parents reside. Some states allow adoptions to be processed in the courts by people who do not live in that state. These requirements are mostly inflexible and cannot be waived or altered.
  2. Preferred Agency Criteria: These requirements are set by individual adoptions reaching beyond the standards set by the state. It varies by agencies based on the group’s primary focus for adoption. Each agency sets its criteria within a framework of special circumstances that may be modified.
  3. Birthparents Criteria: Birthparents are free to set their own qualifying criteria based on what they want accomplished in their situation. If the adopting parents feel the criteria is unreasonable, they are free to walk away from the opportunity.
  4. Adopting Parents Criteria: The adoptive parents set this criterion. These are reasons for which the couple will not enter into an adoption, like issues of health, age, financial considerations, or other reasons.

Adopting A Child – What Are The Financing Options?
Adopting a child can be very expensive and the cost varies depending on what type of adoption is pursued. The least expensive way to adopt a child is to adopt within the foster care system where many states subsidize the placement of children. A private or agency adoption can range from $8,000 to $30,000 depending on a variety of requirements such as birth mother expenses, medical care costs, and maternity clothes throughout the pregnancy. International adoptions can range from $7,000 to $30,000 or more with unpredictable amounts of increase. Be sure to ask the adoption professional about any payment schedules or sliding scale fees.

Of course, adopting a child might be out of reach for some couples. If you aren't in a financial or lifestyle position to adopt a child, you can still make a difference in a child’s life through our friends at Compassion International.

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