What to Know About AdoptionJuly 9, 2021
Adopting a child can be a beautiful and rewarding experience. However, the process of adoption can be grueling, complicated, and incredibly emotional and involve different financial and legal obstacles. Still, as many adoptive parents will attest to, it will be all worth it in the end.
There are a few primary routes to adopting in the United States: domestic adoption, international adoption, or through the child welfare system. Financial, personal, and legal factors will likely determine which path you choose.
Here’s what you should know before considering adoption:
1. Understand Why You Want to Adopt
Before starting your adoption journey, you should be clear about your motivations for growing your family. Keep in mind that you cannot reverse this decision, so you need to explore any hesitations you may have about adopting. Identifying your limits doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a potential parent; it just means that you are making an honest assessment.
For instance, ask yourself how important it is for you to parent a newborn or if you would consider adopting an older child or sibling group. Consider your home and determine if it can accommodate a child with special needs or an infant exposed to drugs and alcohol in the womb. You may want to consult an adoption attorney in Pennsylvania to learn about the process of adoption, get help understanding your legal obligations and rights and if necessary, represent you in adoption hearings.
2. Select the Adoption Route That Fits Your Circumstances
There are almost half a million children in the foster care system, and over a quarter of them are available for adoption. Although most children in foster care are meant to be reunited with their biological families, many of them are legally freed for adoption. Adoption and foster care agencies typically provide education and training to prepare families, ensure they have the resources and readiness to parent a child who in many cases has experienced severe trauma, neglect, or grief.
On the other hand, you can also opt for a domestic or international adoption if you hope to parent a newborn. In private adoptions, you will work with an adoption agency or a private adoption lawyer. If you adopt internationally, it can be expensive and there are typically some hurdles, including filing for the child’s citizenship.
3. Review Your Options Carefully
Once you have reviewed your options and decided on a path to pursue, consulting an adoption attorney is a positive next step. Research the law firm, ask your network for recommendations, and ask all the questions you have to ensure you fully understand the kind of professional you are going to work with over the next several months.
4. Prepare to Complete the Home Study
Regardless of the adoption route you choose, you will have to complete a home study, which is the process that verifies your readiness and eligibility to become a parent. A home study consists of two parts: evaluation and education. The caseworker will review your qualifications to be an adoptive parent and educate you on what parenting an adopted child is like by providing you the resources you need.
Home studies can take three to six months to complete since they involve numerous visits to your home, health exams, proof of income and health coverage, a background check, and a look into close friends or relatives that can serve as references.
5. Understand the Costs
Adopting through the foster care system is often free and comes with subsidies, but the other paths can be costly. An agency adoption costs between $20,000 and $45,000; an independent adoption from $15,000 to $40,000; and an international adoption from $20,000 to $50,000 according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
However, there are various grant and loan opportunities available that can help offset the costs. You may also qualify for the adoption tax credit, so it is best to explore your options by getting in touch with a family lawyer near you in Pennsylvania.
Adopting a child is a beautiful way to expand your family, bring more joy to your life, and give a neglected child a good home. However, adoption is a serious decision that requires careful thought and planning. By considering all the factors and consulting an adoption lawyer, you can determine whether adoption is right for you.
If you’re looking for an adoption attorney in Pennsylvania, contact the team at Daley Zucker. We have experienced attorneys in various areas of the law, including family law, estate planning or administration, elder law, and more. So reach out today for legal guidance on the adoption process in Pennsylvania.