Questions About Adopting a Child

Updated on December 11, 2010
C.M. asks from Cincinnati, OH
12 answers

A little bit of background... When my husband and I had decided we were ready to start a family, we had trouble conceiving. After a few years, we sought assistance. We had gone through 2 rounds of UIU, and were on the 3rd when we started talking about the possibility of adoption. However, third time was a charm and we have a wonderful little boy who is a bit over 3 1/2 yrs. We have been trying for a second, without much luck. I am now 38yrs, obese and have high blood pressure, making me wonder how well my body would be able to handle a pregnancy. I really want another child. Lately, I have been thinking more and more about adopting. However, I don't know if it is the right option for me and my family.

There is so much to learn about adoption, where do you begin? What did you type of adoption did you choose and why? What did you go through? What can we expect of the process? How much did it cost? How did you pay for it (if you don't mind sharing)? While the pros are quite obvious, what challenges have you faced? If you could share your experiences and advice with me, I would greatly appreciate it.


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answers from Columbus on

I've been told that fostering to adopt is one way to go. There are times when they pay YOU to adopt, and there are so many kids out there that are stuck in foster care that need a 'real' home and family to love them forever.

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answers from Dallas on

I do not have a personal experience.... however here is what has happened for our family.

My brother and SIL went through numerous classes and courses to become foster parents in AL.

The first child they fostered, about 3.5 yrs ago was a beautiful litttle 6 month old girl (1/2 black, 1/2 white). Her mom died and they found the baby on the mom's body. The state tried to find good relatives for this baby and the longer it took, the more attached brother and SIL became. Long story short, it took about 1/5 yrs but this baby is now officially in our family and has brought so much joy to everyone. She turns 4 at the end of Dec.

Last week, my brother called and said guess what.... They have a little boy now (fostering, no plans to adopt because people are lined up wanting him). He was 5 days old and weighed 5#. They took him home from the hospital and will keep him until the right fit is found. His mom walked out of the hospital leaving him there.

That is another option you might want to consider.

Also, we have neighbors with 2 adopted sons. Both were located through OB/Gyn offices from people looking for good homes for these children.

Best wishes to you

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answers from Atlanta on

I have not adopted personally, but I have two good friends who have. They both adopted out of the country -one adopted a 2 year old boy from China, and the other adopted a little girl from Guatemala. It's my understanding that Guatemala is now closed to foreign adoption, and theirs was a long and arduous process! My friend who adopted from China had been trying for 3 years. For some reason their adoption agency never told them about the list for children with "fixable disabilities." When they were going to quit, they found out about the list and within weeks had photos and confirmation of the little boy they adopted. China includes cleft palate (they are already fixed, but usually require one or two more surgeries), astygmatism, asthma, diabetes, club foot -you get the picture. One thing -I don't know if China has relaxed the new adoption laws, but they no longer allow obese people to adopt. I know it's nuts (although I can see the reasoning if someone is so large they can't move easily), but they have a BMI percentage you have to provide in order to do it. If you went for a child with fixable disabilities from the outset, you could probably adopt within the year for around $25,000 -$30,000 dollars (including your travel, etc.).

In this country, you would probably have the fastest and best luck if you will adopt a minority child and/or a child who is older -not an infant. It will still probably take at least a year, and it is expensive. Many people say they adopt internationally because it's cheaper than adopting here.

I know both of my friends who adopted took out home equity loans to pay for it.

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answers from Austin on


Have you considered fostering or fostering to adopt programs? That might be your answer.
You should be able to google your state's health department web site and see if they have anything about it. IMO, that would be a good place to start.


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answers from Tulsa on

Hello. I am sorry you are having this difficult issue. Here is what I know.

I know a woman who adopted TWO different infants from two different moms and was there for their births. It cost her $700 for court and attorney's costs plus the mother's actual expenses(medical, clothing, counseling). It ran about $14,000 for the first one and $23,000 for the second one, which is cheaper than others because some waived or reduced fees and churches and people made donations into a bank account for it. One of the infants is biracial which doesn't bother them or us, but in some families it would be a problem.

Here is the key: People who KNEW her KNEW she wanted to adopt and spoke up about what great parents she and her husband would be. When they heard of pregnant teens who were going to give their up their baby, they told the moms about her, her husband, and their desire to adopt.

Each pregnant teen met them repeatedly and then chose them. They have open adoptions and do send updates to the girls who both eventually went on to large colleges and graduated. At no time was their any drama about the M. changing her mind or any threats about getting the children back.

This couple was well respected, as healthy as could be, good with limited money, and very devoted to each other with less chance of divorce than usual as they had been married twenty years and suffered through tragedy to survive and become closer. Everybody likes them.

Another couple adopted two kids using an agency for the first one. This lady had suffered seven different miscarriages after the third month and didn't think she could handle more pain. They tried agencies and were told they would have to wait 3-11 years and there were no guarantees. They went through all the evaluations and frankly spent all their savings while waiting.

Over years 3-10, the agency found 3 possible teen moms to pick them. All three chose them, but two backed out and kept their babies. Had she not had her son already, she says she might have snapped or been suicidal.

Then, a doctor heard of a teen M. looking for a couple just like them(this woman was very overweight, loved to bake, stayed at home...just like the teen M.'s M. who passed away years earlier). She chose them and that is how they got their second child. It is a closed adoption so they don't know what happened to the M.. The agency had stopped trying to place another baby with them after the 10th year due to their age(and they were not much over 40).

I will say that another couple started the adoption process through an American, Christian agency to get an older set of children. They complained that they felt very judged and like they were not going to be approved. There were interviews, background and credit checks, health physicals, mental evaluations, etc... They wanted to know how they spent every minute of every day and they repeatedly popped in to check up on their house. About that time it turned out one of them was arrested for doing something sexual and criminal with a couple of unrelated children. I always wonder if that is how it came out and I am glad they weeded them out. The cost started at over $20,000 with no guarantee of getting a child. Now of course, they will never get one.

Whatever you decide to try, I would get myself mentally prepared for any outcome. I have a predisposition to depression, so I decided not to go through this. We stopped at one because of a 50% chance of having a genetic, life-threatening issue. Sometimes I miss the house with 5-9 kids like I always thought I would have. And sometimes I send a bunch of kids home to their mamas and I am GLAD I only have one. We have a lot of fun and I do more with her one on one than moms with many because I can.

ADDED: Do not foster in hopes of getting to adopt. This is a big NONO and not good for the kids. The goal is reunification even when clearly there are better people around to raise the child.

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answers from Cleveland on

I adopted three children. The first one was "dropped off" sort of like an unwanted kitten when she was nearly 3 years old, and we eventually made her legal when she was 8. The second child was given to us at birth from the same birthmom. The third child was taken from the birthmom at about 2 years old and given to us because we had the two siblings. This whole process took about five years of anguish.

My oldest will be 21, and has nothing to do with us, tells people that we were terrible parents and generally dislikes us, the second oldest is 16 and refuses to obey the simplest household rules. He hates us also.
My youngest , the one we got at birth is 15 and so far, is attached.
I don't want to rain on your parade, but often adopted children are traumatized by the very things you want to provide for them. Many traumatized children are not able to attach and are a danger to themselves and family members
Do some research on Reactive Attachment Disorder and know what you are getting into.
Best of luck,



answers from Indianapolis on

Look into international adoptions as well as ones in the US. I have friends who have a daughter they adopted from Russia and another friend who has a granddaughter adopted from China. Each country is a litle different w/ regard to situations, circumstances, etc. AND cost. Both of these were adopted from orphanages.

In addition, check STATE laws and statutes. I have a friend who's adopted THREE. All of them we adopted from OHIO because there laws are different and MUCH simplier and LOTS less costly and time consuming.



answers from Columbus on

My husband and I ttc for 3 years (5 Clomid, 4 IUIs, 1 IVF) before we had our son who is now 18 months old. When he was 4 months old, we were approached by a birthmom considering adoption for her baby. In the end, she decided to parent, but not before we did all the research needed and got legally ready to adopt the baby in case she decided to go through with it.

What we found was - private adoption can be VERY cheap! The example our lawyer gave us was if you are both in the same state and she has insurance to pay her medical bills, in Ohio you can expect to pay about $5k for everything. We had our home study done in two weeks for $150 through the Probate court. It was insane and very eye-opening.

Knowing how expensive agency adoptions can be and because we were already home study approved for private adoption, we opted to spend the next year "networking" on our own to try to find a birthfamily to do private adoption. I created a blog ( and made business cards that I passed out to everyone we know and random people at the stores. We had three other possibilities pop up, but none of them panned out. Because we had gotten good news on our fertility, we decided to try to start ttc again on our own while continuing to pursue adoption situations. 6 months later we were back at the doctor asking for help and were surprised when the first IUI worked.

We're putting off adopting for now (this pregnancy has been a little rough on me) and until we settle into being parents of two, then we'll jump back on the horse and start networking again.

The downside with private adoption is that you do all the footwork yourself. There are tons of other things we could have done to network, but we weren't comfortable with them. (Like advertising in other states (Ohio doesn't allow it), getting a 1-800 number to put on our cards, posting cards on college campuses, etc.) You definitely have a higher chance of being scammed and who knows how long you will have to wait. To me, I wasn't in a huge hurry about it and truly just kept the mindset that if it's meant to happen, the right situation will cross our paths.

Your questions:

Where do you begin? RESEARCH! I loved this book: It really covered all aspects.

If you are considering international adoption, I put together this spreadsheet from information I found at the Department of State's website (

What type of adoption did you choose and why? You have four choices: International (agency), domestic (agency or lawyer if your state allows that), private or foster care.

The process: The process of each is different. International and foster have the most paperwork. With international you are dealing with two governments with two different sets of laws and hoops to jump through. The foster care home study is insane. (I looked into that as well and we hope to go that route some day when our kids are all grown.) Private adoption seems to be the easiest as far as the home study and legal sides of things, but the tricky parts will come depending on the birthfamily's situation.

Cost: International is the most expensive $30k-$50k, depending on the country you choose and how many times you have to travel over there and how long they want you to stay. (some have residency requirements.) Domestic usually runs around $20k-$30k. Private really depends on the birthfamily's situation and if they are in the same state as you, but probably $5k-$15k. Foster is free... and you actually get monthly stipends for the children, so technically they pay you.

How did you pay for it: Because we haven't actually adopted yet, we've only spent about $300. (Home study, physicals and background checks.) Anticipating costs though, we spent a year collecting donations of items from family and friends for a yardsale. I did lots of signs everywhere, the local paper did a story about it and we held the sale during our town's annual yard sale extravaganza. My goal was to raise $500 - we raised $1200! It was insane! There's also the adoption tax credit... I think this year it's like $11k. Otherwise, I know people who have used credit cards, taken out loans or gotten second mortgages on their houses. There are other ideas online that you can look up, too.

Good luck!!



answers from Chicago on

Hi CM. I would suggest contacting some adoption agencies in your area to find out if they have any informational meetings, or if you could meet with one of the social workers to discuss your interest and find out your options. Agencies all operate differently, and unforturnately, some are more ethical than others, so if you decide to adopt, it's important to find an agency/social worker with whom you are comfortable. I am an adoptive parent and we chose our agency based in part on the level of social worker support we received during our adoption. We adopted internationally so it was wonderful to have a social worker there with us in the foreign country when we had a rough transition. Please feel free to email me if you would like more specific information. Good luck to you and your family.



answers from Dayton on

We adopted domestically 2 1/2 years ago. We are in the Dayton, Ohio area and adopted an infant privately. We were approached by the birthmom to adopt our son.

I will PM you all the details, but if anyone has ANY questions about adoption, please feel free to PM me.

Adoption is a BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL thing. Can there be difficulties? Yes. Can it be expensive? Yes. Can birthing/parenting your biological children be difficult and complicated? Of course.

Educate yourself and once you adopt, network with other adoptive parents for support, help and encouragement.


answers from Minneapolis on

We adopted our daughter internationally, from Ukraine. She has mild cerebral palsy and she waited because of it. Please explore the world of International special needs adoption. is who we worked through. We found her in April, committed to her end of May, and we returned home with her on Oct 29th! Special needs internationally range from mild like eye problems (crossed, astigmatism, etc) to major like Downs Syndrome, severe CP, etc. Our daughter is 3yrs old and while she's not walking on her own yet, she can walk just fine if she's hold our hand for balance! She will be just fine, and is thriving!

I'm sorry you are having difficulty conceiving, we know that world all too well. We have two birth children and after 2yrs of trying we chose to continue with our plan of adoption early. :) Best of luck to you.



answers from Columbus on

Hi CM,
We are in the (hopefully) ending phases of an international adoption right now. I have 3 biological children and as a family we decided to adopt our 4th. We are adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia through All God's Children International simply because we want to love a child and we have realized that love can be fulfilled through many different avenues in life while seriously making a difference in the life of a child.
We have had a rocky road and relied heavily on faith to leap into this journey. The entire process from start to finish will be close to $30,000 give or take a little. We definately did not have the money, the space, or any reasonable thoughts when diving into this, we just feel love for this child across the ocean with no one to love her and no place to call home. We have done some fundraisers and cut back to the bare minimum on all expenses, I am also babysitting some children to make extra money and have taken on a few odd jobs to help raise money. The process is long and trying as there is a lot of paperwork, classes, and time involved but SO worth it.
We are on a wait list for our baby girl and we couldn't be more excited. Adoption has already taught us SO much about the world, culture,love,family,race, and we have met and learned of so many incredible stories and people. If it's something you feel in your heart you should do then by all means do it! There are over 147 MILLION orphans in this many would love nothing more than a Mommy to love them. You only get one chance to be a mother and one chance at life so you need to fulfill it!
And my number one question asked? Do you really think you could love a child that isn't biologically related to you? My answer is of course, think of how much you love your spouse, they are blood either...right?
And yes our family is caucasion and baby will look different from us, but we are sure she will love us anyways and we know we will love her!
Good luck and feel free to send me a private message for more info!

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