Each and every year in the United States alone, hundreds of thousands of children are adopted. The reasons for these adoptions are many and varied. In some cases, the parents of the adopted child may have been tragically killed in some way. In some other situations, the state may have had to step in and remove the child for one reason or another. In many other situations, unplanned pregnancy, the young age of the birth mother, or lack of resources is the reason for the adoption.
Whatever the reason for the child being a candidate for adoption, one thing is for certain: there are many families out there that are willing and able to adopt a child. The reasons for this are as varied as the reasons for the child being up for adoption. Some couples may be infertile, and adoption presents the only way for them to raise and nurture a child. Some adopters believe that, rather than bring a new child into the world, it makes sense to take care of a child in need. Yet others may be single, and have a wish to raise a child on their own.
Irrespective of the motive of the adopting family, statistics have shown that children who have been adopted into loving families tend to thrive throughout their childhood and on into adulthood. They tend to be healthier than their non-adopted counterparts, do better as a whole on standardized tests, are more likely to go to college, and have higher self-esteem.
As we can see, adoption can be a great thing for children and families alike. In fact, some may be reading this article because they are thinking about adopting a child. If this is the case, there is a relevant question that they need an answer to. How does the adoption process work in the United States? Let’s answer this question.
How the adoption process works in America
In many cases, families that wish to adopt in America start the ball rolling by applying with an adoption agency . Let’s discuss the process.
The first step when considering adopting a child is to find an agency. There are several ways in which people go about doing this. One popular method is to talk to friends or relatives who may know of an agency. This often works because adoption is quite prevalent in this country, and due to this, networking with people will in many cases result in good information. This approach can be especially effective because by talking to people who have used the agency, valuable insights can be gained into how the organization operates.
If this is not an option, prospective parents can use the internet to search for agencies, or they can even consult their local phonebook in order to find and visit a nearby adoption service.
Once the decision has been made about which service will be used, it will be time to start the process in earnest. The first step is usually to schedule a meeting, during which the family that wishes to adopt will be given information about the procedure that is specific to the agency in question, and they will be told how the organization goes about the process of locating eligible children. There will also be paperwork to be completed which will provide the parents information about the agency, and the agency information about the parents.
Once this initial process is finished, many agencies will have the parents take classes which teach them more about adoption. This is an important step, as it provides the parents with valuable information about adoption in general which will be of great benefit for the welfare of the child in question. This will also make very clear the realities of adoption, and gives the parents a chance to decide if it is what they are really looking for.
After this, the next step is to have a home study done. This usually involves consultations with a licensed counselor, and in addition to providing the parents with more information concerning adoption, it assures the agency that the home itself will be a good environment for the child to be raised in. This part of the process often includes fingerprinting as well as background screening, also put in place for the child’s safety.
With the home study complete, and the adoptive parents having been found eligible, the next step is to match the family with a child. The workers at the agency have most likely been working on this step for awhile, and will have candidates ready for matching.
In the penultimate step, the child is finally introduced to the parents, and takes up residence with his or her new family. This is often a joyous moment for all parties involved.
The last step in the process involves the agency performing follow up visits for a prescribed period of time, in order to ensure that everything is going well with the family.
Adoption can seem like a long process, but the steps have been developed over time for the satisfaction and well being of all involved, and parents who choose to follow the path of adoption will doubtless find joy and fulfilment.