How to Adopt a Baby: 7 Important Things to Know
Are you finally ready to add to your family? Are you wondering how to adopt a baby? We take you through the entire process here so you can get fully prepared!
Keyword(s): how to adopt a baby
135,000 children are adopted in the United States every year. And adoption is becoming more common.
Adoption is a popular choice for women who can’t or don’t want to get pregnant.
For couples who are unsuccessful in achieving a baby of their own, adoption is an affordable option compared to medical strategies such as in vitro fertilization.
And some parents just always wanted to adopt a baby rather than have their own.
If you’re thinking about adopting a child, there are many adoption facts you should know before you apply for a child. Keeping these seven ideas in mind will help you decide if adoption is right for you and help make sure you’re ready to give a child a real “forever home.”
1. Don’t Let Infertility Be Your Only Reason
When men or women discover they’re infertile, it brings a lot of grief to both the infertile one and their partner. This grief alone can create a powerful desire to become a parent.
While infertility is a common reason to decide adoption, it shouldn’t be your only reason.
Adoption is a complicated process. It takes a lot of time to register in the system and find your perfect child. In Texas, adoptive parents are often required to complete an extensive licensing process through an adoption agency. In addition, raising an adopted child comes with the same hardships as raising any child, but requires a special sensitivity for the questions that an adopted child will naturally have.
Take some time to reflect on your infertility and decide what you truly want out of life. Maybe try other fertilization methods before you choose adoption.
2. Understand the Different Types of Adoption
Adoption isn’t as simple as going to an adoption agency and leaving with a child. Nor should you expect to foster to adopt without some challenges. There are many types of adoption and every parent finds an one adoption type more appealing than another. Here are the most common types:
- Infant adoption
- Adoption from relatives
- Contested Adoption
- International adoption
- Foster adoption, with or without Child protective Services
Since the topic of this article is about adopting a baby, we’ll address adoption of older children another time..
Many adoptive parents like the idea of adopting a baby because they think it’s easier to grow as a family unit when they raise a baby from birth. However, adopting an infant also has its hardships.
Raising an infant is no walk in the park — you’ll have to endure long nights of the baby crying, women won’t be able to nurse, and you’ll have to make some sacrifices to raise an infant. Often, adopted children develop special issues as they get older, surprising some parents.
Before you decide to adopt a baby, weigh the pros and cons of all adoption types.
3. You’ll Need the Aid of a Professional
You already know adopting a child isn’t like adopting a pet, where you find the one you like and take the child home. Emotionally, though, it is easy to fall in love with a young kiddo. Once that happens, your natural protective instincts may make practical decision making harder.
You need a team to help during this process. Most adoptive parents choose one professional who will assist in the entirety of the adoption process, managing all the different players in a Texas adoption.
A lawyer is a great aid. They will help with all paperwork, answer all legal questions, and will help you communicate with the adoption agency. Experienced adoption lawyers will be familiar with the issues you’ll face as parents outside the courthouse, too. Often, adoption attorneys have a network of experts they can rely on, including adoption agency case managers, social workers, family counselors, and even pediatricians. The best adoption lawyers help with far more than just paperwork.
Speaking of paperwork…
4. You’ll Have to Fill Out Lots of Paperwork
The endless amounts of paperwork are one of the worst parts of the adoption process. However, it’s the part that establishes your legal conservatorship of your new child.
When you apply for adoption, you have to prove to the social worker and adoption agency that you’re a suitable parent.
Here are some examples of paperwork you need to fill out:
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Income verification
- Employment verification
- Mortgage/rent documents
- Any debt
- Bank documents
If you’re adopting a child with your spouse and/or you already have a family, you’ll also need:
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificates (if you have other children, natural or adopted)
All of these documents prove the child is going to a happy and healthy home.
They also prove you have the financial means, the responsibility, and the basic necessities to care for a child. Moreover, in Texas and most states, you’ll need genetic surveys, home studies, and licensing. An experienced child welfare lawyer can help make this complicated process manageable.
5. Open or Closed?
When you finally adopt your child, you and the birth parent can choose between an open or closed adoption.
Open adoption means you’re still in contact with the birth parents. You and the adopted child stay in contact via email, letters, and even visits. It’s also customary to send pictures and other memorabilia with the birth parents.
A closed adoption means you and the adopted child have no contact with the birth parents.
Understand this is a decision that falls on both you and the birth parents in a voluntary adoption. Respect their decision — some birth parents would like to stay in contact with their children and others think it’s easier to fully part with the children. However, your first priority as an adoptive parent has to be the best interest of your child(ren) and the safety of your family.
When you disagree with the birth parents, you may be looking at a contested adoption, which is inevitably difficult. Even when you don’t really get along with the biological parents, you need to consider if a contested child custody battle is necessary or if an open adoption might be a better solution for your child, particularly if it guarantees your child a better forever home.
6. You’ll Have to Meet With a Social Worker
Before you can actually take your child home, you’ll have to meet with a social worker several times. That’s because they’re the ones compiling your information.
The social worker will have to see your home and know your overall way of life.
They will look for aspects such as living in a safe area and ensuring your house is child-proof. They will also look at your criminal records and ask if you had prior problems such as substance abuse. You will be sharing your personal life not just with a new member of your family, but with strangers who will judge you as a prospective parent.
This is done to determine your eligibility as adoptive parents. This process sounds scary but the best thing you can do is be honest.
7. You’ll Need to Do Some Soul Searching
Adopting a child is a huge responsibility you shouldn’t take lightly. Before letting a child into your home, do some soul searching. Understand why you’re considering adoption and how adopting a child will benefit your life.
If you’re adopting an infant, know why you’re choosing an infant adoption. It’s best to seek out adoptive parent groups and other sources of support. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice.
How to Adopt a Baby: You Need an Experienced Lawyer
If you know you’re ready to adopt, then you need to know HOW to adopt a baby.
You may feel excited at the thought of letting a new family member enter your life. But, you shouldn’t contact an adoption agency without the aid of an experienced adoption lawyer. Your family deserves the best and you shouldn’t be penalized for trying to bring love to a child in need. Make sure you have somebody in your corner whose only interest is your family’s best interest. Good adoption lawyers will help make the process easier while preserving benefits such as subsidies, state provided legal fees, Medicaide benefits, even free college tuition when your baby graduates high school.
If you’re in San Antonio or central Texas, our lawyers are experienced in adoption services and love to help kids find forever homes. Contact us today.