Imagine welcoming a child into your family, into your arms, and into your heart. When your family grows, the warmth and joy you feel is immeasurable. For adoptive families, those poignant moments only arrive after months of paperwork and uncertainty. Because the experience can be lengthy and emotional, here are five important factors to consider before beginning the adoption process.
Adoption agencies require a lot of documentation, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork you have to complete. In your adoption application, it’s important to include copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses, tax returns, and other financial documents. Don’t be surprised if the agency also examines your work history or asks for your fingerprints. Background checks and physical exams are just part of the process, and completed paperwork — no matter how long it takes — only brings you closer to welcoming a child into your family. If you need help, BB&C is happy to assist you, and we will even help you understand the costs associated with the adoption agency.
The home study
In a home study, a case worker from the adoption agency will visit your home. They will investigate your house, family, and lifestyle to determine what child would be most comfortable in your home. Keep in mind that the home study may take a few months, as the case worker will conduct a series of walk-throughs and interviews. It’s completely normal for the process to feel intrusive, especially since you and your partner likely will be interviewed together and separately. Just remember that the questions about your childhood, your personal relationships, and about how you handle stress all help determine that nothing will cause concern for an adopted child.
The family book
Here’s your chance to be creative! The family book, also known as the adoption profile book, allows expectant parents to get to know you and learn why you are pursuing adoption. The book is an opportunity to express your personality, hobbies, and lifestyle, so share your stories! It’s common for birth parents to connect with adoptive parents who have similar values and experiences, so talk about memorable camping trips or how your family celebrates the holidays. Really, the more detailed, the better; your stories and photographs help birth parents envision the life their child will have with you.
The uncertainty of getting matched
Waiting to be matched with a child is emotionally taxing. After completing the home study, it’s easy to feel impatient with the process, especially when you don’t know when you will be matched. Try to stay positive, and remind yourself of the end goal: a blended, loving, and joyful family. If you need support, see if a local organization offers adoption resources. Here in Lafayette, adoption support centers like Gifts of Grace provides educational resources to both adoptive families and birth parents. Connection Point Church also assists families and expectant parents through the adoption process and hosts fundraisers.
The birth parents
For you, talking about a child’s birth parents may be uncomfortable. It’s a delicate subject, but it’s important to remember that the adoption cannot be finalized until the birth mother legally signs her consent. You should also be aware that the birth father needs to be notified, which can add time to the process if he is not identified by the birth mother. If a birth father steps forward at a later date, there is a chance that the adoption process may be postponed or even reversed. This is why it’s important to work with an agency and an attorney who understand the process and know how to properly provide notice to an unnamed or named father. Keep in mind Indiana is an adoption-friendly state! This means it is less daunting to finalize an adoption in Indiana than in other states. While it normally takes more than six months to finalize, in Indiana — depending on circumstances — it can take as little as three to four months. This means you and your child can begin your new life together with certainty, and sooner, rather than later.
To learn more about the adoption process, contact us.
The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.