Adopting a child is a legal journey that could take a year or longer with results that will last a lifetime. While the process may seem daunting, aspiring parents should realize that breaking the adoption process into manageable chunks means less stress and a better chance at an ideal placement. Here is a look at the four steps of adoption and what you can do to make this period as rewarding and stress-free as possible.
- Educate yourself. Instead of immediately filing paperwork, you need to first educate yourself on the adoption process. There is a variety of information that can be found throughout the country, beginning with adoption agencies. Some of the leading agencies offer comprehensive seminars that are a great way to get acclimated with what might take place in the coming months and years. Hospitals and adoption exchange organizations are two more great resources for those who would like to find out as much information as possible before contacting an agency.
- Research local laws. Taking a closer look at state laws and statutes regarding adoption is important. These laws are completely set at a state level, and this is a great time to contact a lawyer who will help facilitate the entire process. Once you believe that you have a good grasp on the laws of adoption, you can begin exploring agencies and making a choice on which will be best for you. The type of agency will help to determine the methods that are used to place the child, where the child comes from, and how much will be spent on the process.
- Display your lifestyle. No matter the agency that is chosen, the third step in the process is a thorough home study. The home study allows the agency to further understand the lifestyle and capabilities of parents, and this process can take upwards of 10 months. Once this is complete, agency officials will begin to select children who would be a good match on multiple levels. At this point, you should contact your legal representative to help guide you through the process of understanding, signing, and submitting the legal forms. A lawyer who is knowledgeable with the adoption process will help with social worker visitations, transferring of citizenship if needed, changing of names, and the final forms.
- Adopt your child. The last step in this process is when you finally become a parent for your child. You should understand that parenthood is a lifelong journey, and you may encounter hurdles throughout your child’s life. From schools issues to adoption therapists, you are going to need to remember that there is a wealth of resources available to provide a loving, nurturing environment for your child in the coming years.