If you are considering adoption all the options can seem a little overwhelming at times. There are so many decisions to be made, not the least of which being what type of adoption you wish to pursue; Domestic, International or Foster Care. Each option has their advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your specific needs and wants, as well as your family situation you will likely find one option stands out as the best one for you.
Domestic Adoption: domestic adoptions work well for those couples who are looking to adopt a newborn and those who find it important to have a detailed family medical history. Domestic adoptions can be difficult as more birth mothers are seeking open adoptions so they can remain part of the child’s life. Also, depending on the laws in your state you may find the birth mother or father can change their mind after the adoption process has begun. Be sure you familiarize yourself with the laws in your state and prepare yourself for anything that may come up.
- Wait Times: the average wait time for a domestic adoption in the United States range from several months to several years. Making specific requests for gender or race will increase the wait time
- Cost: the average cost of a domestic adoption ranges from $10,000 to $40,000.
International Adoption: international adoptions are best suited for those who prefer not to have direct contact with the birth mother, and are interested and able to raise a child of a different nationality. International adoptions have begun to decline over the last several years. The restrictions of the birth countries have become more strict and some countries (like Vietnam) have halted adoptions altogether. Educate yourself about the adoption process in the country you are considering.
- Wait Times: the wait times will vary depending on the country you choose to adopt from. For example, the wait times in Russia and Ethiopia are less than a year. In Korea the wait times are up to 18 months. In China (the most popular international adoption location) the wait time is up to 3 years.
- Cost: the cost of an international adoption ranges from $10,000 to $40,000 depending heavily on the country you choose to adopt from and the agency you choose to go through.
Foster Care Adoptions: foster care adoptions work best for those parents who don’t want to spend a lot of money or don’t have a lot of money to spend. They also work well for older parents and those who don’t mind adopting an older child or a child with special needs. Parents choosing this option should be aware that the child they are adopting may have come from a home where they experienced abuse or neglect and may have been in the foster care system for years. The parents need to be prepared and willing to deal with the special needs of these children.
- Wait Times: the wait times for foster care adoptions average only a couple of months. Once the child is placed in your home it does take a year or more for the adoption to be finalized and a social worker will need to work with your family to ensure the placement is in the best interest of the child.
- Cost: the average cost of a foster care adoption is only about $2500, and in many cases the fees are waived by the state.
The best thing for a prospective adoptive parent to do is to start by researching the various options available and determine which adoption method best meets your needs and wants. Once you know which road you wish to go down do more research about that type of adoption. The better educated you are about the process the easier it will be and the less surprises you will encounter.
Here are some very helpful web resources.