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Low Cost Adoption is Possible

Adoption
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The process of adoption can be a long course, full of emotional ups and downs. The best way to help smooth out the journey is to arm yourself with information on adoption. Learn all you can about it, and your experience will be better.

What is adoption?
Adoption is a legal process that joins parent(s) and child in a permanent relationship, giving parental responsibilities and rights to the adoptive parents and ending the legal connection between the child and his or her biological parents. Adoption is also a lifelong commitment for your whole family.

Who can adopt?
Anyone who is between 18 and—as a general rule—40 years of age. You must be in good health, although by law no one can be disqualified for adopting because of a disability. You must pass a criminal background check, not use drugs and, increasingly, not use tobacco. There are usually residency requirements in each state. Most but not all states don't mention sexual orientation, so gay and lesbian couples are not prohibited from adopting. Most states' statutes also ignore marital status.

Who are the children?
Children are available domestically and internationally. Older children are available to adopt because something bad has happened in their lives. Whether through death, voluntary relinquishment or court-ordered termination of parental rights, these children have been separated from their parents and are available to adopt immediately. Infants become available when their birth parents decide that they cannot parent the child themselves. Their reasons may be financial, their own young age and inexperience, or a lack of support from their families.

What are the different options or types of adoption?

  • Domestic and international
  • Infant and older child
  • Public agency, private agency and independent
  • Open, semi-open and closed (refers to the amount of interaction between birth parents and adoptive parents)
  • Relative, stepchild or adult adoption

What are the fees?
Adoption fees cover a home study and court costs. Beyond those items, additional expenses depend on the type of adoption. In general, adopting from foster care is least expensive, costing up to $2,500 (though government reimbursements can actually offset all your expenses). Stepchild or relative adoption is next, running about $250 to $2,000. A domestic adoption through a private agency can cost $5,000 to $15,000, international adoptions are about $10,000 to $30,000, and independent adoptions using an adoption attorney start at around $8,000 and can run as high as $40,000. Fees are one of the most important bits of information on adoption, because the range is so wide.

What is the process?
You make the decision to adopt, study information on adoption, and decide what type of adoption you want to pursue. If you're not adopting through a public agency, you'll select a private agency or attorney. You'll complete the application and begin the home study process. The home study is an in-depth evaluation of you and your family. It includes a medical report, criminal background check, financial reports, multiple interviews, a home visit and possibly a psychological exam. If the home study report is favorable, you'll begin attending adoption and parenting classes and start looking for a child. The next step is determined by where you find your child. If you're selected by a birth mother, you'll wait until the baby is born. If you're adopting internationally, you'll wait to be matched to a child by your agency, then travel to your child's country to meet him or her. Your child will come to live in your home, and you'll file a petition to adopt. After the legally required time, the adoption becomes final.

This is only a basic outline of information on adoption. Investigate further and go into more detail about these topics, and make sure you understand the options and processes that adoption involves. Your adoption experience will be the better for it!

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