What Is the Adoption Process like for Those Who Are Familiar with It?

Updated on December 06, 2011
J.T. asks from Philadelphia, PA
6 answers

Hello Everyone,
My husband and I have been considering adopting a child for the past year. We currently have 2 children(birth children), and would love to help a child in need. I'm curious to know for those who are adoptive parents, or familiar with the process where do I begin? How long is the process? What are the best agencies? How do you know what age is right for your family? I have so many questions and I think this is the perfect site to find answers. Thank you in advance, please PM if there's anything I forgot to mention. Have a wonderful day!

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answers from San Francisco on

I do not have personal experience, but I have a friend who just posted on facebook about the need for more people to consider foster-adopt programs. If you want to help a child in need, that is the way to go. I also have friend who have done both international and domestic adoption and it was very expensive and very , very emotionally difficult. There were several instances of the adoption falling through at the last minute.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

You have a couple of options. The first is private adoption through a private adoption agency which can either be domestic or international. Private domestic adoption will be a baby - usually newborn whose mother/father decided they were not going to raise the baby.This is usually very expensive.

The other route is adoption through the state. As a former CPS worker, I am a fan of this route :) There are SO many children out there needing a forever family. One good thing is, at least in my state, there is an adoption subsidy - which means financial assistance for your adopted child every year because of their adopted status. Many people do not want to adopt through the state because most of these children have been through extensive trauma and have problems associated with being separated from their families. The older they are, the more they not only remember their mom and/or dad but may struggle with moving on. However, the outcomes can be beautiful things.

You can chose to either be foster, foster/pre-adoptive, or just adoptive. In my state, you take the same classes/training for any of these routes. If you register to be just foster - you will take in foster kids but are not authorized to adopt should the birth parents not be able to regain custody. If you are foster/pre-adoptive it means you are approved to take in foster children and you would be able to adopt them if their birth parents do no re-gain custody. This doesn't mean you HAVE to adopt them. You get a great chance to see how that child fits in with your family over the course of the several months the birth parents have to be working towards reunification. Or, you can be only adoptive. Meaning social workers will only contact you regarding children whose parents no longer have any legal rights to them. They have probably been living with foster parents who aren't able or willing to adopt them. There is a transition period to you but you do not get as good of a chance to get to know them.However, some people prefer this route because you are spared the hassle and potential heartache of dealing with the "what's going to happen in this child's life?"

To begin, you should contact your state or counties human services or children and family services department and ask about becoming an adoptive parent. They can answer your questions as well more specific to your state and probably have an orientation class where you at least get some general info about it to see if you are wanting to proceed.

PM me if you are interested in this route and have more questions. I have seen beautiful families created through adoptions in this fashion. The one thing you need to be aware of, if you adopt through the state, you may have to be able to commit to helping the child through therapy, behavioral issues, etc. If this is too much for you, you can request to only have younger children placed with you. Older kids often get overlooked for these reasons, but the rewards from fostering/adopting older kids can be more than you ever imagined.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

That is great. A few years ago, my sister adopted an 11 year old girl.
Go to new jersey's website and search for adoptions. They will have some of the information you are looking for. There should also be a list of agencies in your area that you can call. If you do a state adoption, there is basically no cost for you. The agency will cover the costs of the home study etc. Normally, special needs children are any sibling group, any child over the age of 5, or has a physical or mental disability.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I adopted a girl from the state. She started out living with me as a foster child. I suggest that fostering is a good way to find out how another child will fit into your family.

My daughter was 7 when she came to live with me. I didn't actually adopt her until she was 12. She was a special needs child with serious emotional issues. By putting off the adoption the state continued to pay for her therapy bills.

She was an at risk placement meaning that the state was working on terminating her birth mother's parental rights and so I didn't know for sure that I could adopt her. I knew that I wanted to after a few months. It did take 3 years before she was available for adoption. In the meantime I had the support of Children's Division workers as well as mental health specialists.

Not all older children are as difficult as my daughter was. When you apply with the state, if you decide to go that way, be honest about what you expect and feel that you're able to handle. Some require much more help than others.

I suggest that you talk with your state's office as well as private adoption agencies. The big advantage to going thru the state is that it costs nothing and if you start as a foster parent you get financial assistance.

You can adopt thru the state without fostering first. The actual cost of adoption is paid by the state. No out of pocket money except that normally needed to care for a child.

When going thru the state, you first fill out an application and take a several weeks course giving information and some training. Then you're assigned to an adoption worker who will then look for a child that matches your needs and theirs. The process does take several months.

When you talk with an adoption worker they will discuss with you what ages seem most likely to fit with your family. The needs of the child as well as your needs are taken into consideration. For example my daughter needed to be an only child. Sometimes it's best that they be the oldest or the youngest, depending on their life experiences.

Adoption is a challenging road. I bonded quickly with my first foster child and found the process worth the hassle and pain. There are rules, some of which seems to not make much sense, to follow. And if the child's birth parent's rights are in the process of being terminated or even already terminated there is the adjustment period for both your family and the child. This adjustment is very much influenced by what the child has experienced during the years prior to coming to live with you.

Call various agencies and the state. They will talk with you as long as you have questions. They will be able to give you an idea of what it's like with their agency. Each one will have some differences.

There are open and closed adoptions. A friend had an open adoption with their first child. They sent pictures every year to the birth mother. Another friend also had an open adoption and she and her family are closely involved with the adoptive family. The grandparents babysit. The birth mother and her parents are invited to family events. It's like an extended family.

I had a closed adoption because the birth mother was mentally ill and disruptive of my relationship with my daughter. However, I maintained contact with other relatives so that my daughter would have the security of knowing where she came from and have an extended family. This worked out well for all of us.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

It depends on the state but my brother and his wife were going to adopt from overseas. No matter where the adoption came from, in their state they had to come up with about $10,000 for the home inspection process. Once they had the money saved they would have the home inspection and there's other little things to be done with more money costs. Then, there's the adoption process and cost itself. You should call the state and find out the process for your area and for the type of adoption you are looking for. One good thing is to find a support group online or locally so you can get some input from others who have already gone through it. Talking to others will truly ease you mind in the process. Adoption can take years for a baby.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I am the very proud mother of two sons. We built our family through adoption and it was the best thing we ever did! The agency we used for our first son was horrible, can't say anything good about them except that because of them, we have our beautiful nearly 3 year old son. Our second adoption experience was perfect and amazing. Our younger son is 10 months old now. I strongly recommend, if you are in the south Jersey/Philly area, you look into this agency Open Arms Adoption Network. It is a affiliated with Jewish Family and Children Services but one doesn't have to be Jewish (we aren't). They have a great seminar, well lots of them, but they have an introduction to open adoption and they cover tons of adoption questions and issues. I believe it's once a month and you don't have to commit to their agency to go. Please check it out.
The cost of adoption from them is on a sliding scale based on annual income of the previous year. I believe the range is $18,000-$24,000 or around there but remember you will get a tax refund from the Government after your adoption is finalized. We were also eligible for money from my husbands employer.
My job allowed me to take 12 weeks off with my first son but would only allow me to use one week of sick pay, the rest I had to use vacation pay and that ran out quickly so I had about 9 or so weeks with no pay. Check with your benefits before you get that surprise like I did the day before we brought our son home.
Our first wait was about 9 months, our second wait was about 6 months or so. The finalization for our first son took 10 months and for our second, it took 7 months. We were open to any placement, we just wanted to be chosen by a birth mother, we didn't care about gender, race, health; we just wanted a baby. If you are open to all options, the wait is generally shorter.
Please don't go into this just because you want to help a child, they can't spend their life feeling like you did them a favor. If you want a bigger family and if you know you will love any child, even if he or she doesn't share your DNA, please adopt. It will make your life a better one for sure!
Good Luck!

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