Adoption can be a beautiful way to bring a child into a loving family, no matter what the circumstances are surrounding it. Even though there are many positive aspects of adoption, the process is rarely simple.
Adoption has both pros and cons for the child, birth parents, and adopting family. Child adoption is the process through which an individual or couple become the legal parents of a child who was given up for adoption by their birth parents. According to the Adoption Network, no more than 2% of Americans have actually adopted a child.
Adoption is a way to give a new life to a child who needs a loving home, but there are both pros and cons to child adoption. Keep reading to learn about all that child adoption entails.
Why do couples adopt?
There are many reasons why couples choose to adopt and the circumstances surrounding adoption often look different for different families. However, some of the most common reasons a couple chooses to adopt are because they:
- Have experienced infertility
- Want to provide a loving home for a child in need
- Prefer to avoid labor or childbirth
- Want a sibling for their child
While some families may choose to adopt because they aren’t able to have children of their own, others may be able to have biological children but want to help a child who isn’t able to be cared for by their birth parents. Regardless of the reason for adoption, it is often an act of love on both sides.
How to adopt a child
If you’re considering adopting a child, you may have wondered what the process actually looks like. Adoption is usually a long and thorough process and it may vary by state, so it’s important to look into any specific regulations or steps in the state you live in.
Before you even start the process, there’s a lot for you and your significant other to think about regarding what type of adoption you want to pursue, the costs involved in the adoption, and what adoption agency you will choose.
Some of the types of adoption include:
- Adoption from foster care
- Private adoption
- Independent adoption
- International adoption
The cost and length of the process will vary depending on the type of adoption you choose. When you adopt a child from foster care, there is typically little to no cost involved, and some families may be eligible for Federal adoption assistance.
When you choose to go through a private adoption agency the costs are much higher and costs can range from $30,000 to $60,000 depending on the agency. An independent adoption occurs when a birth parent finds an adoptive family outside of an adoption agency. Adopting a child directly from the birth parents is a legal way to adopt a child in most states, but you will need an adoption attorney to aid in the process.
Pros of Child Adoption (for you and the child)
No matter what type of adoption you choose, there are many incredible benefits for both you and the child. Some of the pros of adoption include:
- You have the chance to raise a child that needs a loving home
- A child gets to be a part of a loving family
- You help the birth mother or birth parents who aren’t ready to raise a child
- You get to start your own family or bring another child into your family
- You can be a part of a smooth and ethical adoption process
Many birth parents choose to give their baby up for adoption because they’re unable to raise a baby or give their baby the life they believe they deserve. Though this is a difficult decision to make, they choose to put the needs of their baby over their own wants and desires.
Like any important decision, it’s critical to weigh the pros and cons to see if it’s the best option for your family. When it comes to adoption, there are many benefits to consider for all parties involved.
Cons of Child Adoption (for you and the child)
Adoption may be a beautiful and necessary process for many families, but there are cons to consider before you choose to adopt a child. Some of the cons of child adoption include:
- The process is emotionally difficult for the birth mother even when it’s the right decision
- Independent and private option come with a high cost
- It can be challenging to choose between closed and open adoption
- Even when brought into a loving family, the adopted child may experience feelings of inadequacy when they find out they’re adopted
Adoption may be the right choice for your family, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any negative emotions involved. It’s normal for a birth mother to experience grief and loss when giving up a child for adoption, even when she knows it’s the best decision. However, many birth mothers are still able to be a part of the child’s life through an open adoption.
Open adoptions allow for some kind of contact between the adopted child and the birth mother. Nowadays, this is the recommended approach by many adoption agencies, and completely closed adoptions are actually the minority.
What Age of the Child Should You Adopt?
When considering adoption, one of the choices you have to make is the age range of the child. Many couples who are unable to have a baby of their own choose to adopt a baby, but with the number of older children waiting to be adopted, some couples choose to bring an older child into their family.
There is no right or wrong answer for what age you want your adopted child to be, and there are both pros and cons to any age. However, there are some things to keep in mind when choosing an age range. If you’re adopting a child from foster care, especially an older child, it’s important to understand there is a high likelihood they have experienced some form of trauma.
Trauma is incredibly common for children in foster care, as well as mental health issues such as PTSD, which impacts at least 20 percent of children in foster care who were victims of abuse. Adopting an older child from foster care means you give an older child a chance at a new life. But if you already have other children in your home, keep in mind there are often behavioral issues that come along with trauma and it can be a challenging transition for other children.
Adopting an infant is a possibility either through foster care or a private adoption agency. There’s nothing wrong with adopting an infant even though there are many older children in need of a home. Ultimately, you have to decide what is best for your family.
Is Adoption the Right Choice for You?
Bringing a child into your family through adoption is a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved, but it’s not an easy process. Depending on the kind of adoption you choose, you may be working with an adoption attorney, a social worker, or an adoption agency. Adopting a child through a private agency can cost up to $60,000 while adopting a child through foster care has limited fees, if any.
Think about how adopting a child will impact your life before deciding if it’s right for you. Will you be available or have time off from work for any court dates or appointments during the adoption process? How will you prepare for any obstacles while transitioning your adopted child to their new home? And if you plan on adopting an infant or toddler, will you or your significant other be staying home with the child?
When you’re preparing for adoption, it’s crucial to be realistic about the time and cost involved. After you’ve weighed the pros and cons, you may decide adoption is the best way to complete your family.