No two adoption journeys are exactly the same, just like no two children are exactly the same. The length of time it will take to adopt your child varies due to a number of different factors. Individual situations and preferences on your part and on the part of the expectant parents make your journey unique, but also richly rewarding.
STATE OF RESIDENCE
In order to serve the best interest of all the parties involved, especially the child, the adoption process is governed by both interstate and local state laws. Not all state laws are exactly the same. Each state has the right to determine certain aspects of how an adoption is conducted, the paperwork that needs to be filed, and where it needs to be filed and when.
If you choose a gender specific adoption, there is a good possibility that your process will take a little longer and most adoption professionals have a policy that does not allow gender specificity. Despite the increasing popularity of gender reveal announcements among parents who intend to parent their child, a majority of birth mothers do not know or choose to not learn the gender of their unborn child until the birth. And for those who do, ultrasound interpretations are not 100% accurate. It is important to understand this if you have your heart set on a boy or a girl.
The more flexible you are with your preferences, the more likely it is that you will have a shorter wait to have your child home with you. Statistics regarding domestic adoption do show that families that wish to adopt a Caucasian newborn will wait longer. Most families that are open to children of any race including multiracial and biracial children have more opportunities and therefore often adopt sooner.
Most birth mothers prefer to place their child with younger established parents, so if you are between the age of 28-40, you are likely to be matched sooner. While more and more people are hoping to become parents in their 50s and 60s, for this age group it’s a better option to consider adopting older children either internationally or from the foster care system.
NUMBER OF OTHER CHILDREN
Adoptive parents with other children in their family have to consider the needs of the other children as well as those of the new baby. It takes time and careful planning to make sure that they are emotionally ready for the dynamic of their family to change before you can begin the process.
You also have to determine if you can physically accommodate the new baby. For example, do you have enough bedrooms, or will some of your other children have to double up for the first time? Preparing your other children for the new arrival may lengthen the process, but it can make adopting a joyful time for the entire family.
While there is no greater gift you can give your child than unconditional love, it is very important that you know what you can afford, both now and in the future. While private adoptions are actually less costly than going through an agency, you may need to have a discussion with your spouse to determine if you need to make any changes.
Sometimes, just creating a budget and eliminating unnecessary expenses can make a big difference. There's also an adoption tax credit available along with possible grant money. You may have to take a little more time to tweak your finances before getting started, but it will definitely be worth it.
Attorneys Jennifer Fairfax and Catelyn Slattery are experienced in all areas of adoption legal counsel and ready to answer any questions you may have.