Infant Adoption: What is it and is it right for me?
There are a variety of adoption types out there, including: international, foster care, and domestic infant adoption. With all the information available, how do you decide which path is right for you? In the following article, we will discuss exactly what infant adoption is and where to start in the process.
What is it?
Infant adoption is defined as the voluntary and permanent placement of an infant for adoption by his or her birth mother. The birth mother picks the adoptive family either through an agency or independently via an ad, attorney or personal contact. From there, the adoption professional will help write out the terms of the adoption process. Each state has different laws that will affect the terms and processes of the adoption. Check here to find out your state’s adoption laws.
Adopting an infant comes with many advantages, and as with everything, some disadvantages as well. Choosing to adopt an infant gives you the opportunity to form an early bond, experience ‘firsts’, and be a part of early teaching experiences. On the flip side, adopting an infant limits your ability to choose gender, if that is important to you. Infant adoption can also have a longer wait period because of the disparity between birth mothers and people looking to adopt.
Is it right for me?
Deciding whether you want to adopt an infant or an older child is a completely personal decision. Whatever is bringing you to choose adoption, it is important to go into the process with a clear and sound perspective. Adoption is not an easy process but making sure you are prepared for whatever path you choose will make your experience much better.
Here are some different factors you should look into before deciding if infant adoption is right for you:
Infant adoption can be achieved either through an adoption agency or an independent adoption attorney. Adoption costs vary depending on which route you choose, the agency or attorney used, and additional expenses, such as travel. The average cost of an infant adoption is around $40,000, but because this is a variable, please consult with your adoption agency or lawyer to find out exact pricing.
Adoptions through an agency are about $5,000 more overall compared to adoptions through an attorney. The average total for an agency adoption, as of 2016/2017, sits at $43,000. This total includes: home study fees, document preparation and authentication, adoption agency application and fees, attorney fees, advertising/networking, birth family counseling, birth mother expenses, foster/interim fees, travel expenses, post-placement expenses, and any additional costs.
Independent adoptions are usually less expensive than through an agency, however, the cost can vary significantly because of other determining factors. For example, an independent adoption done through family or word-of-mouth may have minimal costs compared to one done with advertisements and consultants. Likewise, the expectant birth mother’s expenses can vary greatly depending on her health, and legal fees differ between every law firm. The cost of an independent adoption costs, on average, somewhere around $38,000. This includes many of the same fees that go with agency adoptions, including home study fees and birth mother expenses.
Determining the expenses for any adoption is a real gamble. There are a great number of variables that are out of the control of adoptive parents, adoption professionals and even birth parents. You can generally expect to pay more going through an agency, but both options have their pros and cons.
Length of Time
The length of wait time for any adoption is variable and dependent upon many factors, including: state laws, finding the right match, and potential ‘false starts.’ Overall, infant adoptions done independently through an attorney will take less time than going through an adoption agency. On average, adoptive parents will be matched, whether through agency or independently, within 12 to 24 months.
There are a few elements that may affect the adoption timeline. The home study, finding a match, placement and post-placement, and finalization are all variable factors in the adoption timeline. Some of these variables are out of the control of adoptive or birth parents and are more dependent on the adoption professional that is chosen to help the case. Different states also have different laws that must be followed, which can affect the adoption timeline. Unfortunately, disrupted adoptions or ‘false starts’ can happen with any adoption. An expectant mother may change her mind on adoption at any point throughout pregnancy. If this happens, you will need to wait for another match.
Some aspects of the adoption timeline are dependent on personal preferences. For example, birth mother and child preference can affect the length of time you may wait before adopting. The more flexible you are in your preferences, such as gender, the more quickly you are to be matched with a birth mother. It is also a good idea to look into hiring an adoption specialist that has a wide reach. The larger the area an agency or attorney covers, the more chances of finding a match there will be.
Now, how do you know if it’s right for you? Everyone’s journey to adoption is different and personal. No single article or person’s opinion can determine what is right for you and your adoption journey. Be sure to understand all of your options and the benefits and risks that come with each of them. The most important thing is that you are well informed and prepared to take on the emotional, physical, and fiscal responsibility of being an adoptive parent.
Adoption Choices of Nevada
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Nevada. You may visit the website here or contact us by 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Devon Thornton is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. She has recently moved from Orlando, FL to Clarksville, TN, and is pursuing her writing career with Adoption Choices and also writing personal essays in her free time. Devon is an avid reader and a big Harry Potter fan.
When she’s not curled up reading a book, you can find her somewhere on a hike or a camping trip. She loves her cat, Minerva, and considers herself a true animal lover. She hopes one day to publish a book of essays and to maybe meet J.K. Rowling.
Craft, Carrie. “Advantages of Baby Adoption vs. Older Child Adoption.” LiveAbout, www.liveabout.com/baby-vs-older-child-adoption-26384.
“How Long Does It Take to Adopt a Child?” Considering Adoption, consideringadoption.com/adopting/adoption-101/how-long-does-it-take-to-adopt-a-child.
“How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Child? Adoption Cost & Timing Report.” Adoptive Families, 7 Mar. 2018, www.adoptivefamilies.com/resources/adoption-news/adoption-cost-timing-2016-2017-survey-results/.
“State Laws on Domestic Adoption.” State Laws on Domestic Adoption – Child Welfare Information Gateway, www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/laws/laws-state/domestic/.