Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Forever Family: How Domestic Adoption Can Bless Your Life

Although domestic adoption has long faced a negative stigma, prospective parents and society at large are beginning to see domestic adoption options in a new light. Contrary to popular belief, a domestic adoption can in many ways be even easier or more secure compared to a foreign adoption and may reward parents with the same amazing blessing of caring for a child.

The Adoption Process

A domestic adoption simply means that the child up for adoption was born in the United States or a territory under US jurisdiction. The child is already considered a natural born citizen and is probably already living in the United States. This can make the process easier because parents will not have to worry about immigration or citizenship issues.

In most other ways, a domestic adoption process is the same as an international one. Parents are still likely to work with a professional adoption agency to pair them with a child. This will involve a home study and approval process and likely a look at the parents’ financial and personal backgrounds. This is done for the safety of the child and to ensure that an adoptive parent or couple meets the basic standards to care and provide for the child.

Being Patient

Most adoption processes are not short. Parents may have to wait several months for a child to be found, and then it may take six months to a year for the adoption process to be finalized. While eager parents may balk at these numbers, taking the time ensures that an adoption is successful. It allows both the birth and adoptive parents to be sure of their decision and helps to prevent the pain and uncertainty of a failed adoption.

The good news is that the wait times for domestic adoptions have decreased on average. A stigma exists that domestic adoptions are rare, that children are commonly not available and that it may take years to find a child. None of these misconceptions are true. While the number of prospective children put up for adoption has decreased dramatically in the last few decades, domestic adoptions have actually outpaced foreign adoptions since 2007.

Legal Matters

All adoptions require some sort of legal paperwork and approval by a court. Parental rights must be terminated and granted, and this is all an important legal process that must be handled fully and carefully. A misstep in the legal paperwork of an adoption is very likely to result in a failed adoption or the dreaded scenario of a birth parent coming back to claim their child later. It is important to make use of a family law or adoption attorney, such as Madison Law Firm, to ensure the process and paperwork are completed.

Less than one percent of domestic adoptions are contested once the legal process is completed. There can be uncertainty before the final paperwork, but it is still rare for birth parents to suddenly back out of a procedure in its final stages.

Adopting from Foster Care

Although 99 percent of domestic adoptions involve newborns through private adoption agencies, prospective parents may also consider the joys and challenges of adopting a child in foster care. In general, adopting from foster care is more challenging and more uncertain than a private infant adoption. This is primarily because birth parents may not agree with the adoption, may still be fighting for their parental rights and may have their rights restored at any time prior to the adoption.

There are still a few advantages to adopting a foster child. Some parents may want to take on the responsibility of a foster child or may be looking to give an older child a loving and permanent home. Adopting from foster care may be the only way to successfully adopt a non-infant child.

While the process may take longer in some cases, it may be shorter in others. Some children are in long-term foster care. The parental rights of their biological parents are gone either because the parent is deceased or rights have been terminated. These children may be immediately available for adoption, and state agencies are likely eager to move these children out of the foster care system and into a permanent and stable home.

The choice to adopt a child is not an easy one. Domestic adoption is increasingly becoming the preferred adoption method, and is losing most of its societal stigma. Adoptive parents are certainly needed to take in children who have nowhere else to go or are resigned to a life of uncertainty in foster care. There has never been a better time to consider a domestic adoption and the joy that may come from providing a home for a child in need.

Tim Esterdahl

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