If you and your partner have been unsuccessful with fertility treatments, you may be actively discussing other options that will allow you to add to your family. Surrogacy, egg donation, and sperm donation are often viable choices for many couples struggling with infertility. Adoption is also a wonderful way of extending and enriching your family. But the adoption process is not an easy one. Adoption can sometimes be a very complex procedure and you and your partner will need to decide which type of adoption is right for you. This adoption overview will provide you with some insight on the basic types of adoption.
How Common is Adoption?
Adoption is becoming more and more popular in different countries all over the world. In the United States, more than 120,000 children are adopted every year. Of these children, 51,000 are adopted from foster care and 21,000 are adopted internationally. Adoption continues to rise in popularity throughout the United States.
Who Pursues Adoption?
Many different people make the decision to adopt. Adoption is often pursued by:
- couples experiencing infertility
- single women
- same sex couples
Benefits of Adoption
Adoption can offer you and your adoptive child countless benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- the opportunity to extend your family
- the opportunity to experience the pregnancy and birthing process
- the opportunity to fulfill your child rearing dreams
Costs of Adoption
The costs of adoption vary, depending upon the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Typically, public agency adoptions are the least expensive. Other forms of adoption can cost anywhere between $7,000 and $30,000. These costs cover legal expenses, the cost of your adoption home study, and any expenses incurred by the birth mom if she is pregnant.
How Do You Adopt?
There are two routes that prospective adoptive parents follow when starting the adoption process.
An agency adoption is an adoption that is performed with the help of a private or public organization that specializes in adoption procedures. Public agencies are often run by state or local governments, and may include child welfare services, social services, or foster care branches of the government. Public agencies are typically less expensive or even free, but often do not deal in infant adoption.
Private agencies are run by profit-driven or non-profit organizations. These organizations are very familiar with adoption laws and can help match you with suitable birth parents. Private agencies are expensive, however, they can help you with all of the legal details involved in adopting a child.
Independent adoptions are performed without the help of a public or private adoption agency. In an independent adoption, you and your partner search for a prospective birth parent on your own. Once you have located a child for adoption, a contract is drawn up by an adoption lawyer. In some countries, adoption facilitators are allowed to bring together potential adoptive parents and birth parents. These adoption facilitators are often knowledgeable in adoption law, but may not be as experienced as adoption agencies are.
Types of Adoption
Before deciding on adoption, it is important to understand the different types of adoption that are open to you.
If you are interested in adopting a child from your own country, you will want to pursue domestic adoption. Domestic adoption allows you to adopt a child from your own state, and sometimes, from across state lines. Domestic adoption can be performed independently or with the help of a public or private agency. Because state laws tend to vary greatly, it is important to keep up to date with domestic adoption legislation in your area.
If you choose to pursue domestic adoption, you will also need to decide between open and closed adoptions:
- Open Adoption: In open adoptions, the birth parents typically work with an agency to choose the appropriate adoptive parents. The birth parents then meet with the adoptive parents to exchange personal information. After the adoption, the birth parents maintain communication with the adoptive parents and can receive information about their child in the form of pictures, emails, and telephone calls. Many birth parents engage in regular visits with their child after the adoption.
- Closed Adoption: Closed adoption allows for complete confidentiality between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. Typically, the birthparents allow an agency to choose adoptive parents on their behalf. Only non-identifying information is exchanged between the two parties. After adoption, there is no communication between the birth and adoptive family.
International adoption allows you to adopt a child that is not a citizen of your country. International adoptions are becoming more and more popular because they are often associated with shorter wait times. International adoptions are typically performed through an international adoption agency; however, they can also be performed independently with the help of an adoption facilitator. International child adoption laws vary from country to country and may change without notice, so it is important to make yourself aware of the adoption laws in your country of interest.
Did your infertility journey take you down the adoption path? Was adoption as easy or as difficult as you thought it would be? Visit Pregnancy Stories and share your tale with other women.