Thinking about adoption in 2022? You’re not alone!
In the United States and abroad, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the rate of adoptions in many places. Likewise, adoptions that were in progress sometimes ran into longer processing times and other issues. Now, many families are revisiting their intent to welcome a child into their home through adoption in the new year.
It’s impossible to know “everything there is to know” about adoption, of course. Prospective parents often wonder and worry about what they don’t know. Luckily, adoption has become easier and more inclusive over time, so many of these concerns will turn out to be unfounded.
Ready to get started? Let’s take a closer look at adoption in 2022:
- More than 100,000 Children Are Adopted Every Year in the United States
Adoption happens every day – literally. About 135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year. Outside of second parent adoption, nearly 60% of adoptions originate in the foster care system. About 26% of children who are adopted come from other countries.
- Help Is Available for Prospective Adoptive Parents No Matter Where You Are
There are about 3,000 public and private adoption agencies in the United States. Historically, many of the oldest adoption agencies have been affiliated with a religious community. These days, however, a growing number of agencies are non-affiliated or operate from completely different backgrounds.
- All Parents Are Equal Under U.S. Adoption Laws
Any adult, single or coupled that is approved by the court or a home study agency has the opportunity to adopt a child in the United States. “Carve-outs'' that make the process more difficult for some, such as members of the LGBTQ+ community, are not permitted. Single adoptive fathers no longer face the discrimination they once did, either.
- Adoption Can Be a Long Process
The timeline for adoption can vary considerably based on a number of factors, some out of anyone’s control. For example, the start of the pandemic set some adoption filings back by months. It takes anywhere from 6-18 months on average to adopt a foster child and 2-4 years to adopt a newborn.
- Adoption Generally Requires a Home Visit
In a home visit, a state certified social worker visits the home to assess the adoptive family and in many states that social worker must be affiliated with a licensed child placing agency. The process is intended to ensure a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for the child. This can be stressful, and many prospective parents start to prepare for it from early in the process.
- Adopted Children Are as Happy and Healthy as Their Peers
On average, children who are adopted have the same likelihood of positive mental health outcomes as peers raised by biological parents. It is not the size or shape of your family that makes the difference, but a loving and supportive atmosphere where kids’ needs are met and they are supported as they grow.
- Most Prospective Parents Wait About a Year to Decide
Some people know from early on that they want a child. However, it’s totally normal to wonder whether now is the time. No one can ever be 100% prepared for parenthood, but it’s not unusual for prospective adoptive parents to spend about a year reflecting and getting different parts of their life “ready.”
- An Adoption Attorney Is an Indispensable Partner
No matter how you choose to grow your family, you will need to be able to make the correct court filings. If you plan to adopt with help from an agency, your attorney can help connect you with the right one.
For personalized help with adoption in 2022, contact Jennifer Fairfax today.