Learn about baby adoption and how to begin the process
Whether you want to start a family by adopting a baby, add another baby to your happy home or have decided to help a child through international adoption, you have chosen a noble path that will bring unimaginable rewards. If you have decided to put a child up for adoption, you can take a constructive role in the process to ensure that the child is placed with an ideal family.
About Baby Adoption
Adoption is a permanent relationship -- once the adoption is officially granted, the child is, in a legal sense, as much a part of the adoptive family as a child that was born into it. Whether you choose an open or closed adoption, you will become that child's parent and you'll have the authority in their upbringing.
While some will prefer a closed adoption, more adoptions are being handled openly these days. An open adoption is one where the biological parents have some influence in the adoption process and some contact with the child and the adoptive family afterwards. In some cases, they can even choose the adoptive family. One of the many advantages to an open adoption is that the adoptive family can access the biological parents' medical records for insight into any genetic issues that could influence infant development or child health care.
International adoption poses different challenges for the hopeful parents. Essentially, the process takes place in the court of the child's home country, and strict U.S. immigration laws will apply. In most cases, the child must be an orphan to be eligible for adoption by a U.S. family.
Where to Begin the Adoption Process
There are a few different types of adoption, and the one that works best for you will largely depend on your connection with the other family involved. For instance, independent adoptions happen when both sets of parents have found each other. In this type of adoption, the parents can either work with an agency, an attorney or sometimes you can do the work yourselves. On the other hand, an adoption center or agency is always involved in closed adoptions and situations where the state has assumed care of the child due to neglect, abandonment or similar events.
While it is possible to proceed without an agency's help, there are quite a few benefits to working with adoption services. For one, adoption agencies have careful screening procedures and you can be sure that a reputable agency will work within the many laws and rules that surround adoption. Attorneys and facilitators sometimes have special credentials that make them adoption specialists in their field, but they cannot offer the same degree of supervision or guarantee of ethical practice. In the end, you'll be properly protected and the process will often go more smoothly when you work with an adoption agency.
When you've decided that you are physically and emotionally ready to adopt, contact a few adoption centers to investigate the services that they offer and ask about their screening and matching procedures. Attend an informational meeting at the adoption center, and contact some adoptive parents that have gone through the agencies that you are considering. Remember, adoption is an exciting endeavor, but also a very serious process that requires a good deal of learning and investigating. Your patience and commitment will pay off in the end.