Adoption is very exciting and an incredibly rewarding experience. It also entails a dramatic change in lifestyle. If you’re thinking of adopting, there are lots of decisions to make before you begin the process. In this blog entry, we are going to cover five of them.
- Do you have the resources?
Raising a child is very expensive, no two ways about it. It’s estimated that raising a child costs a couple of hundred thousand dollars by the time they get through college. Adoption by itself is an expensive process; it often costs over $35,000.
The financial commitment is only part of the calculation. The adoption process takes a great deal of time and work. Are you able and willing to make the commitment?
- Do you have support from friends and family?
Adopting a child may be a wonderful experience for you, but it’s almost certainly going to be more difficult than you anticipate. It takes time to adjust to such a major lifestyle change. An adopted child who is older than an infant may need to make a big lifestyle adjustment too. So a good support network is very important.
- Do I want to adopt from the US or from another country?
There are lots of things to consider here. Adopting a child in the US will often cost $35,000 or more; but adopting from overseas can cost twice as much! It used to be faster to adopt a child from overseas, but now the wait time can be years. This varies quite a bit depending on the country. Anyone interested in adopting from overseas needs to do preliminary research on the country of interest.
In the US, children are usually adopted through agencies or social services. US adoptions usually also involve a long wait.
- Should I adopt an infant or a child?
If you’re interested in adopting a newborn, the US is probably your best choice; an international adoption will take a while to go through. Needless to say, adopting a newborn will translate to lots of sleepless nights.
Adopting an older child will eliminate at least some of the sleepless nights, but older children will come with their own set of challenges. They may have developed either strong attachments to previous caregivers or they may have had negative experiences with previous caregivers. Either way, they’ll have an adjustment to make.
- Do I want to adopt a child with special needs?
Every family is different, and you need to decide what’s going to work for you and discuss your decision with an adoption agency. There’s sometimes a shorter waiting list for special needs children, and it’s sometimes easier for older or single parents to adopt special needs children.