Building a Family: 4 Tips to Help the Adoption Process Go Smoother

According to the National Adoption Center, more than 100,000 children are currently awaiting adoption in the U.S. alone. You can bring one or more of them into a happy home, but first you’ll need to prepare yourself for various legal, financial and emotional hoops that you’ll have to keep jumping through. Here are just four tips for lowering these hoops to a manageable level:

1. Determine Your Expectations

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of raising a little girl. Maybe you’re looking to adopt an older child out of the foster care system rather than an infant right out of the hospital. Everyone has their own desires and expectations regarding parenthood, so it’s important to be honest about them when you start considering adoption. This is especially true if you’re considering something like a special needs adoption. It has more regulations than a traditional adoption, so it will require more planning.

2. Prepare Your Finances

While you shouldn’t let dollar signs affect your decision to adopt, it pays to be prepared for the overall expense of bringing a new child into your life. Budgeting is key. You might be responsible for everything from application fees to homestay evaluation costs, so don’t start painting your nursery just yet. Sit down with a financial planner and figure out the basics first.

3. Build an Adoption Network

Speaking of financial planners, they should be just one of the professionals that you involve with the adoption process. A family law attorney will be needed to help you with all of the proper documentation, and counselors, social workers and adoption agency representatives should be working with you every step of the way. Think of your adoption as a group effort: Everyone wants the child to have a good home, and everyone should be pitching in to make their dream a reality.

4. Build a Timeline

Adoption can take anywhere from months to years, so it helps to build an expected timeline once you know things like the child’s age, gender, race, health and birth parent situation. This is how you’ll be able to tell if your adoption is proceeding at a reasonable pace. If you ever feel like it’s grinding to a halt, talk to your adoption agency and see what can be done about speeding things up or cutting through some red tape.

These are just a few tips for a quicker, smoother adoption. The most important thing is that you maintain a flexible attitude no matter what setbacks you may encounter. Once you have your new child in your arms, everything will be worth it.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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