Chances are, you know someone whose life has been impacted by adoption. They might be adopted or have an adopted child. You might know a family with several adopted children, or maybe a single parent who worked hard and saved every dime so she could to adopt an international child.
After hearing these life-changing stories, you begin thinking more and more about adoption. You might be thinking that this is a great way to grow your family. Good for you!
People grow their families through adoption for many different reasons. Some families are never able to conceive, and adoption is their only chance of having a family. There are others who have both birth children and adopted children. Some other families take in a child from a friend or relative and later decide to make their family permanent through adoption.
My husband and I decided to adopt after our second daughter was born. I’d had some health issues during both of my pregnancies. After talking with my doctor, we all agreed that I should not have any more children. We said that if we wanted to have any more children then we would adopt. (For more info about our adoption story, click here.)
When we first began researching adoption, Chris and I were COMPLETELY overwhelmed with all the different ways that were out there. All the adoption methods and the different fees charged for each type of adoption are mind boggling!! Throw that into the mix with each state’s (and country’s) specific adoption laws, and you have an insane amount of information.
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Private Adoption/Infant Adoption
A lot of people who choose to adopt want a baby. It’s totally understandable since you will be raising the child with your own parenting style from birth. Parents who have never been able to conceive may also want that baby bonding time.
With that being said, adopting a baby is a very expensive and time-consuming process. A family could spend between $34,000 and $39,000 for domestic adoption. This cost varies depending on the state they live in and the agency’s fees.
When you look at international adoption, the cost for the family could reach $50,000 or more. With this type of adoption, not only do you have to consider domestic agency fees, but you also have to take into account the fees for the country of origin, travel fees for the family, and passport/visa fees for the child being brought back to the US. Many countries have increased their adoption costs, so this type of adoption is on the decline in the United States. However, there are many families that feel strongly about growing their families through international adoption.
Kinship adoption is another way to adopt a child. There are times when the parent(s) are unable to care for a child and give up their rights to their child. They either request a family member adopt their child, or the court appoints a family member to adopt and care for the child permanently. Kinship adoptions are usually inexpensive.
Foster to Adopt
Foster to adopt is one of the more affordable forms of adoption in the US. There are thousands of children in the foster care system. Many of these children will be reunified with their birth families, but sometimes that is not an option. If a parent signs away their rights, or the court has terminated their rights, then those children are available for adoption. When you become a certified foster parent, all of the fees associated with this certification are usually covered by the state. Some states even cover the legal fees for the adoption, up to a certain amount.
During our foster to adopt process, the state of Kentucky covered $1,000 in legal fees for us. We were charged $1,002, so our out of pocket expense was only $2! That’s very reasonable compared to private and international adoption costs. The cost was not really a factor when we adopted Keith, but it was an added benifit for chosing this adoption method.
When you adopt from foster care, it is very unlikely that you will get a baby or a young child. There are many school-aged children and teenagers that are awaiting a family. This something to be mindful of if you do look into adopting from foster care. These children can make a wonderful addition to your family. However, they may show some coping behaviors in response to any previous chaos they have experienced. These children, although older in age, may need more care and parenting than their peers. This level of care will depend on many factors, and will probably be unique for each child.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing to adopt. Whatever way you go, if you decide to adopt, know that there will be some stress and difficulties along the way. You should also know that the journey is very rewarding, and you’re changing the life of a child in the best way possible!
Over my next few posts, I will be sharing some unique adoption stories from other families. I hope you enjoy learning about the many different types of adoption!
Until next time,