We are continuing this week with our series of reasons not to adopt and why you should pay them no mind.
For many families, the lack of clarity around the process is daunting and seemingly insurmountable. We talked to at least a dozen adoptive families before we took the plunge ourselves to ask them about their process and didn’t get two stories alike. In the end, we finally figured it out. The lack of clarity is going to be ever-present. It’s something you are just going to have to be ok with, but you do have some steps you can take to navigate it.
When you step back and think about it, it makes perfect sense; you are dealing with people and their lives. No two children arrive at their need for a family in exactly the same way and no two families make the decision to adopt in the exact same way. Blend in the fact that you are always working with at least one, and often times two, governments, that each governing body from each country has its own set of rules and requirements, and that those rule and requirements are notoriously fluid and you have a recipe for one big complicated soup.
This is specifically why I recommend you work with a reputable adoption agency. I cannot stress enough the qualifier of reputable. I have seen more than enough families begin walking through this complicated and difficult process only to run into a major snag that their agency should have seen coming. Your choice of an agency will be one of the most important decisions you will make in this process. I recommend talking to other adoptive families and asking them which agency they worked with and what they thought of them. If the only answer you can get is “they were great!” pry a little deeper. Ask about challenges they met along the way and how the family thought the agency handled them. Keep in mind that no agency is perfect, but find one that you are comfortable with.
If you are looking where to start, I’d work on the following as a general guideline:
- Choose a nationality. Are you set on a domestic adoption? Are you open to international? Consider the many factors at play in each potential country of origin. Many countries have stated, official regulations, Korea, for instance, requires adoptive parents to meet strict physical health regulations, China will not, as of this writing, allow a child to be adopted into a family with more than four other children, even USCIS has annual income requirements for prospective adoptive families. Look into these requirements for any country you are considering to make sure your family meets them before proceeding. Still, many regions of the globe carry certain, unofficial, reputations within adoptive circles. Many African nations are notorious for changing the rules without grandfathering in families already in process, while others are lauded for their clarity.
- Once you have chosen on a country, hire an adoption agency. Along with reputation, you are going to want to make sure the agency you choose has experience in your country of choice. It wouldn’t make any sense to attempt to adopt a child from India and then hire an agency that has never adopted out of India before. So much of the process will depend on first-hand knowledge of a country’s process that most agencies will be straightforward with you about their ability to facilitate an adoption from whatever country you have in mind.
- Follow Instructions. Ok so you have done your homework and you have partnered with a great, reputable, and capable agency. This is when that agency can really work their magic. You will likely have an interview with an agency representative that works exclusively with families adopting out of your country of choice. This is a good sign that they will know exactly what to do. You’ll also likely be sent a packet with a ton of information on documents you need to obtain. Follow that thing to the letter. Even then, your process will almost certainly differ from the process laid out for you but you can rest assured that you are in good hands.
In the end, yes, every adoption process is going to look different. But we are fortunate to live in a word with many experts who have plenty of knowledge to share. I’ll leave you with some wise words given to me a few years ago: trust the process and pray for progress. You’ll be done before you know it.