Adopting a Baby: What You Need to Know

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The process of how to adopt a baby can be overwhelming. There are decisions to make prayerfully, organizations to vet, and many perspectives to consider. It’s approaching a new chapter much like starting a marriage– with hearts wide open, support, and education to make a strong foundation for your family’s future. I am a birth mother who has lived out an open adoption for the last twenty years. Additionally, I have worked within adoption for over five years. I can tell you adoption is a sanctifying process on all sides of the triad along with logistics. 

How to Adopt a Baby

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Choose The Type of Adoption

Choosing the type of adoption will influence your approach and who you have on your team for support. Adoption types are domestic, international, or adoption from foster care. Each has different points to consider. For this article, I’m focusing on domestic adoption. Within domestic adoption, you’ll also decide how much contact with the birth family you are comfortable with. Today 95% of adoptions have some kind of contact with the child’s birth family through letters, photos, texting, or visits. Open adoption is shown to be beneficial to the entire adoption triad whenever possible.

Build Your Adoption Team

After deciding on which type of adoption you would like to pursue, you will then select a licensed adoption professional to walk alongside you through the process. It’s important to find an adoption professional that aligns with your values and ethics. Christian Adoption Alliance is one resource for finding accredited professionals in your state with a faith-based foundation.

You will also build your team through the home study process through your state, which qualifies you to adopt. Christian Adoption Alliance shares the purpose this way, “The main goal of the home study is to evaluate the environment the child will be raised in and to help the adoptive parents prepare for parenting and the arrival of the child.” This is one of those areas where there can be lots of paperwork and checkboxes to complete, but also includes important learning opportunities that will prepare your heart for adopting.

Complete Your Home Study and Profile Book

While completing your home study, you’ll also begin creating your profile book or website. This is a book that gives expectant moms information about your family and photos to give an authentic glimpse into your life. This can be a beautiful ministry opportunity as well to express your heart for her, that she is cared for through her difficult time.

Once your home study and profile book are done, you’re then ready to present to expecting families considering adoption. She will then take time to decide if she would like to get to know you more as well. If so, often there is a matching phone call or meeting to ensure everyone is on the same page and answer any questions. It can feel like “dating” and often nerve-racking for everyone! This is another ministry touchpoint to express care for the expectant family and getting to know them. As a birth mom, this was a vital time for me to experience God’s love through the adoptive parents I chose.

Waiting for Placement

Waiting for a match and placement can range from weeks to years. The wait can vary depending on what point the expectant mom is in her pregnancy, and there can be interruptions as expectant parents are rightfully making final decisions. Regardless, using this time to seek God, lean into what He is teaching you, and trusting His timing will benefit your family in the long run. Often placement occurs at the hospital after the birth parent’s relinquishment papers are signed. This can be another point to love the birth family radically in whatever time you have with them. Then, typically around six months after placement legal finalization of the adoption takes place.

Realities of Adopting a Baby

When adopting a baby, it’s important to understand how adoption affects everyone involved. Placement is just the beginning and there is an entire lifetime to prepare for in this commitment. Throughout this adoption journey– and beyond– there will be many bittersweet emotions of joy and grief for you, your child, and their birth family. Starting your process with education and continuing to learn about different complexities, experiences, and ethics can help create a compassionate heart. Compassion can create a deeper connection with your child while honoring their birth family. I encourage you to think beyond the “right now.” Think beyond yourself to consider and plan for your role as a parent, how you will support an adoptee’s innate needs while honoring the birth family that gave them life?

How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Baby?

It’s no secret that adopting can be expensive, and the numbers can vary. However, it covers services needed including legal fees, expectant/birth parent care, medical fees, home study fees, and more. An ethical agency will have pre and post-placement support in place for the birth family, which you are helping to provide as well. The good news is that there are many resources for families hoping to adopt. Check into your employer and military benefits, tax credits offered, and private grants available.

How to Adopt a Newborn Baby Quickly?

While it’s understandable to desire to grow your family quickly, remember the Lord often doesn’t work in our time. There are many pieces to the process to work through for a reason that helps protect everyone involved while waiting for His timing. However, one option to possibly lower wait time is by using an adoption consultant who works with you throughout the adoption process and networks with agencies. Wait times can be lower because you are able to present your profile book more often.

How Hard is it to Adopt a Baby?

Many adoptive families have shared with me the hard part is the emotional complexities adoption can bring. You will have challenges to overcome with each child, along with the complexities of the adoption layer– such as navigating birth parent relationships or supporting your child through identity questions and grief. Is it worth it? Absolutely! God can use these experiences to grow our faith and loving others like Jesus when we are open-hearted to what He is teaching us. Kelly Todd, Senior Consultant with Christian Adoption Consultants, advises to have good support surrounding you. “One of the most important pieces of the adoption puzzle that can make your journey more or less challenging is the support you receive as you are walking through the process.

Final Thoughts

As a birth mother, adoption has shaped my life because of the choice I made and the people who have supported me through my journey. That includes my daughter’s adoptive parents in how they cared for me from their profile book to our conversations twenty years later. I love what Carol, Executive Director of Covenant Care Adoptions, shared with me:

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