Adoption gives the legal responsibility to an individual or couple to care for and raise a child who is not born into their family. You may consider adoption when:
You may not be able to adopt a newborn. You need to decide if you are willing and able to raise an older child, or a child who is disabled, has special needs, or is from another country or of a different race.
You may adopt a child through a private or public agency, or through an attorney. Public adoption services are usually free. Private services charge fees that can be very expensive. Choose a licensed agency with a good reputation. Ask about their fees and ask for references. The agency will check to see if you have a stable family life, regular income, and good health. You will need to give information about your finances, health, marriage, and employment. You may need to have a physical exam, have your fingerprints taken, and have a background check. A social worker may visit your home to make sure that it will be a healthy place for a child.
A closed adoption means that the birth mother and adopting parents never know each other. Records are kept sealed. In an open adoption, the birth mother can meet and approve of the adopting parents. She may even want to share in the raising of the child. Adoption laws may vary from state to state. You need to know which types of adoptions are legal in your state.
Your child may be upset by the move to a new home and family. At first, your child will probably be excited, overwhelmed, sad, and happy all at the same time. He may behave badly or be very quiet. He may throw tantrums or behave like he is several years younger than his actual age. Do not criticize your child for acting younger than his age. Let your child know that he is safe and protected. The support and understanding that you provide can help children deal with scary emotions.
Your child may grieve for the life he left. Feelings of loss may involve birth parents, friends, foods, language, or culture. Nothing feels familiar to her. Your adopted child may feel unsure about how long you will really want to keep him, especially if he has spent time in foster care.
If you are thinking about adoption, there are many community, church, and healthcare resources that can direct you to the proper adoption placement agency. If you have worries and concerns, talk with your healthcare provider or contact