About Adoption

If you're thinking about adoption, here are some posts that I think will be helpful.

5/23/13 - Aging Out of Foster Care

3/22/13 - Nia Vardalos Shares About Foster Adoption

3/13/13 - 12 Things You Can Do to Make Sure Your Adoption is Ethical

3/12/13 - Adoption Movie Guide: Beasts of the Southern Wild

2/4/13 - What to Expect if you Foster/Adopt

1/18/13 - Too Single to Adopt?

1/16/13 - Too Old for Adoption?

12/1/12 - Open or Closed Adoptions? - Have Adoptions in the US been Historically Open or Closed?

11/26/12 - A Kid's Experience in Foster Care

11/5/12 - Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for Kids in Foster Care

10/26/12 - Openness in Adoption

It's important to clarify which type of adoption you're considering.

There are five primary types of adoption: foster care, independent, international, step-parent, and adult adoptions. 

About 50,000 children a year are adopted from foster care, and hundreds of thousands of children are in foster care at any given time. Many of them will not return to their parents’ homes. In foster care adoption, children are adopted by relatives, family friends (sometimes called non-related extended family members or NREFMs), or foster families. Information on becoming a foster parent or a foster-adoptive parent is available from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the public child welfare agency in your county, or from many private foster care agencies (an agency with some free resources on their website is Koinonia Family Services.)

Independent Adoptions typically occur when a woman decides that the best available choice is to have her soon-to-be-born or very-recently-born baby adopted and raised by another family. These adoptions often go through an agency which serves to connect the pregnant woman with a family that wishes to raise a child. Attorneys are also often involved in these adoptions. Kinship Center and Bethany Christian Services are two reputable agencies that work with independent adoptions.

International adoptions occur when parents adopt a child living in another country. This is generally done with agency assistance, as international adoption agencies have connections with children at need in other countries, and the agencies also have an understanding of the sometimes tricky legal aspects of international adoption.

Adult adoptions and step-parent adoptions involve the least legal complications. Adult adoptions occur when a person over the age of 18 and another adult mutually decide to legally establish a parent-child relationship. An excellent article by Bill Briggs at Today Health explains the experience of adult adoption and the reasons that adoptees and adopters might be interested in it. Laws vary from state to state, so please do check with an attorney about laws where you live.

Step-parent adoptions are the most common type of adoption in the United States. A step-parent adoption occurs when a step-parent decides to take full responsibility for the child of their spouse. The non-custodial parent is then relieved of all obligations, including child support. Information on step-parent adoptions is available through the Child Welfare Information Gateway.  

Most adoptions fall into one of these categories, but every adoption is unique because of the story and circumstances that go into the adoption. Some adoptions are open; some are more closed.  Some adoptions are between family members, others are across cultural boundaries. Newer technology even allows for the adoption of embryos. Many adoptions start with circumstances that involve grief – difficult circumstances often lead to a child needing to be adopted; difficult circumstances, such as infertility, propel some adults to seek adoption. Most adoptions bring great happiness. At it's best, adoption is a redemptive act; it can bring healing where there has been injury; it can bring joy where there has been sorrow. Take some time to consider if you might fit well as an adoptive parent.

Perhaps the most important issue to consider ahead of time is openness. Many adoptive and birth families have arranged relationships to allow a child to have ongoing relationships with members of both families - birth and adoptive. Openness in adoption provides many benefits to the child and to those that love the child.  It's also the historical norm.

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