Adopting a child is one of the most important events a family will ever experience. But the decision to bring a child into the home, from another family and often from another country, is more than an event. It is a lifelong commitment to the child. This is why it is so important to follow a plan carefully when adopting, to ensure that all of the details are covered. The child and the family will then be able to enjoy all the opportunities that will follow.
The first and most crucial step is to learn as much as possible about adoption, before signing any documents or making any final decisions. Adopting a child is much more important than any other decision about the home or family, so it is essential that family members understand just what is involved in the process. There are thousands of sources in libraries, on the Web and at adoption-agency offices to help educate families that are considering adoption.
The next step, after gathering all the information you can about adoption, is to choose an agency or service to work with. This is a crucial step in the process and should be given all the time the family can devote to it. Keep in mind that you must work with an agency in your home state.
Before the family can start the process of selecting a child, a reliable adoption agency will conduct several meetings between agency representatives and the family. These meetings will include a home-study process, during which the agency will learn all it can about the family, its home and the lifestyle the child will be brought into. Of course, the early steps in adopting will include completion of an application package, in which the agency will gather all the necessary legal documents for adoption.
At this point in the process, families may want to attend adoption classes or parenting classes. Some of these may be required, depending on the agency or adoption service the family chooses. Family members should always take these classes and view them as a way to become better parents and siblings, not just as a requirement.
Obviously, there are several important early steps to be taken when you have made the decision to adopt a child. These must all be completed before family members or parents can start to locate and choose a child. Perhaps the most important step at this point is matching a family with a child. An experienced professional will be able to assist you in making sure that the match is successful.
Sometimes the last two or three steps in the adoption process can go very quickly. However, there are times when the placement of the child takes a longer time than you would like. This is a time for patience and a time to prepare the home and family members for the arrival of a new individual. There will be legal steps to be taken as the child arrives and after he or she is welcomed into the home. The adoption agency will continue to follow up with visits and phone calls. This assistance should continue for several months, even years beyond the time when the child comes into the home.