adoption options

Thursday, November 3, 2011

No better time to talk about adoption than National Adoption Month. There are three options when you’re talking about adoption and each comes with its own set of challenges and difficulties, as well as its own set of negative stereotypes and myths. I'm by no means an expert on any of these methods, so expect this to be a brief overview, but I hope it piques your interest enough to check one of them out.


*Please keep in mind that in these scenarios, it is always faster to adopt a child of color than a white child. Especially with domestic adoptions, both private and public. Sadly, there are still way more people who are requesting white babies over all others.

1) Domestic Adoption (private) – This is almost always newborn adoption. The cost is quite high; it can be (although not always) the most expensive way to adopt. You will need an agency and/or an attorney to adopt this way. This is the one I have the least experience with, and what experience I do have is pretty negative, so I will refrain from writing much on this. (Please don’t take my experience to mean I think private adoption is bad. I just don’t have positive experiences to share. I know that this avenue turns out well for a large amount of people.) The one thing about private adoption that I find extremely beautiful is the opportunity for open adoption. That is a high privilege that is rarely granted in both international and public domestic adoption.

2) International Adoption – There are many countries one can choose for adoption. They change constantly due to new international regulations and in-country changes. There are a myriad of web resources to help you choose which agency and/or country you prefer. You can also specify gender as well as approximate age. I would say that a large majority of internationally adopted children come from orphanages. It is very expensive to adopt internationally, and the countries vary wildly on total costs. However, as with domestic private adoption, there are lots of resources to help you finance and pay for an adoption. This very well might be the most complicated way to adopt when you consider the boatload of paperwork, the pain of bureaucracy, and the uncertainty of governmental regulations. (Please don’t take ‘complicated’ to mean ‘bad’. It just means complicated.)

3) Domestic Adoption (public) – This is obviously the one I’m most familiar with. I’ll probably go into this more in depth in the coming month. For now, this means adopting through foster care. This can be a couple of ways. The first is foster to adopt. You foster a child until they are legally free for adoption. The ‘risk’ is that a child reunifies with his biological family. You are still waiting, just as with other types of adoption, but the waiting period occurs while the child is already in your home. That was a huge stimulus for us.

The other way to adopt through foster care is just through straight adoption. You will only be placed with a child who is already legally free for adoption. This is the absolute safest way to adopt. Once parental rights are severed, they are severed forever. There is no way for biological families to ‘take back’ their children. While most of the waiting children in the United States are sibling groups or older children, you most definitely can adopt infants this way. Also, foster adoption is virtually free.


Obviously there are lots of other issues, myths, stereotypes, risks, and benefits that go along with each of these options. I encourage you to research each of them online or at the library and if you’re a follower of Christ, to seek His will for your family and adoption. You might find you’re called to an avenue you didn’t expect. You might find you’re not called to adopt at all. Whatever your decision, adoption remains the best way for hurting, needy children with no other options to find a safe and loving family in which they can heal.

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