5 Things to Know if You Consider Adopting a Child

Adoption

Adoption can provide a child with a stable and loving home, helping them to thrive. The child isn’t the only one who benefits. Adoptive parents are also enriched by the special relationship that can be forged between them.

Across the nation, about 140,000 children are adopted annually. When excluding adoptions by stepparents, adoptions come from the following categories:

  • 59% are children in the welfare/foster system
  • 26% are children adopted from other countries
  • 15% are U.S. children voluntarily relinquished

Adopting a child has many rewards but the adoption process can be complicated.

Adoption isn’t for everyone. Here are five things to keep in mind:

  1. You will be subjected to a full background check, including health, criminal, and financial records.
  2. An in-home study will be completed by a caseworker.
  3. Some adoptions can take years to complete.
  4. Parenting classes and other training may be required.
  5. Adoption can be costly.

We’ll go through all five considerations in more detail below.

Adoption Background Checks

A thorough background check will be completed on you and anyone else 14 years old and older living in your home. A clear criminal history is not required but there are specific offenses that will bar you from adopting. For example, anyone who must register as a sex offender can’t adopt. See the full list of disqualifying crimes here.

The background check will also examine your financial history. Your credit report does not have to be spotless. Even a past bankruptcy will not immediately disqualify you but be prepared to explain the details of the bankruptcy and how you have regained control of your finances.

Your physical and mental health will also be scrutinized. Whether you are adopting through foster care, an adoption agency, or private adoption, the organization will want assurances that you have the physical and mental stamina to adopt.

Home Study for Adoptive Parents

Home studies are required for all adoptions. In addition to the criminal, financial, and health background checks, you will also be asked about your personal relationships. A background check and home study are generally required before an agency will begin the process of connecting a family with an expectant mother or child.

You can be asked questions covering a variety of subjects, like your motivation for adoption and opinions about discipline. They will interview each member of the household and reach out to character references. Your home will be checked to ensure it is a safe and suitable environment for a child, including that all your pets are properly vaccinated.

Required Parenting Classes

The number of class hours varies from agency to agency but parenting classes for adoptive parents generally are a minimum of 35 hours and as much as 60-plus hours. The classes include such wide-ranging training as properly installing a car seat to how to respond to a pouting child.

Adoption May Take Months to Years

The home study alone can take several months to complete. A newborn adoption takes between one and two years on average. About 40% of parents surveyed who adopted a U.S. newborn through an agency had at least one false start. Americans adopting through China’s traditional adoption program took longer than five years. All adoptions require a period of supervision that includes post-placement home visits. These visits must be successfully passed before the adoption is finalized.

Costs of Adoption

The costs of adoption can vary greatly. Adopting a child through an agency can be $40,000 or higher. International adoptions often reach closer to $80,000 when including travel and citizenship/immigration costs. Adopting through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is generally less than $500.

Legal Advice for All Types of Adoption

The process of becoming an adoptive parent is challenging. At The Springer Law Firm, we can help you understand each step in the journey. Our lawyers have experience in all types of adoptions and can answer your questions about private, agency, international, or foster adoption.

If you are thinking about adoption, schedule an initial consultation. Based on your situation and parenting goals, we can guide you in the next steps. Contact us online or call (281) 990-6025.

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