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Navigating Adoption in the U.S.

Growing your family is a big decision, especially when you’re adopting. The adoption process is involved, sometimes lengthy, and there are several steps you have to take before you become parents. There's the choice of whether you want to adopt internationally or domestically. Not having enough information about the adoption process can end up breaking your heart and costing you a bundle of money.

Below is a brief overview of navigating the adoption process in the United States.

Choose How You're Going to Adopt

There are certain things you need to consider in the adoption process. For instance, are you looking to adopt a baby or child? Will you be communicating with the birth parents, as in an open adoption? What type of agency will you be adopting from? These are a few questions to narrow down your focus when you're deciding to adopt.

Decide on an Agency

Do you want to adopt from a state-run foster system or a private agency? This can be a difficult decision on its own. There are a few things to look for when making your choice such as:

  • Fees
  • Type of support
  • How long you must wait
  • How many interrupted adoptions

Research the agency before making your decision. Ask a lot of questions so you feel confident in your choice.

Go Through the Screening Process

Once you choose an agency or professional to adopt from, they’ll screen and evaluate you to see if you’re appropriate to be a parent. The screening process will involve things like the application process, a home visitation, and maybe even a personal portfolio with photos and personal details about yourself and your parenting style. The screening process is where the professional will decide to officially accept you into the adoption process and searching for a child for you.

Finalize the Adoption Process

When you unite with your child, generally they’ll live with you for six months. These six months are the "trial period" where the adoption agency will finalize your case and put in a request to approve the adoption. If approved, you're awarded permanent, full parental rights by a judge, and the child becomes yours.

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