The First Steps to Take When Adopting a Newborn

Many people are under the impression that adopting a newborn infant in the United States is a long and difficult journey.  While it may take over a year, there are many healthy, wonderful children who need loving families.  Here are some concrete steps you can take as a prospective adoptive parent looking to adopt a newborn infant in the United States.  

Expectant/birth parents understand that they have choices in the adoption process.  Their feelings and desires are very important as they make the toughest decision of their lives.  They are looking to find the best home for their child.  It is very important that you can empathize with the expectant/birth parents as they face this difficult decision.  Here is what you can do to get started:

 Interview different adoption agencies and programs.  Find out exactly how each one works.  Licensed adoption agencies typically offer multi-faceted programs to assist you.  Make sure they are licensed and ask for references.  Go with a reputable agency or program.  Ask what services they will provide to you?  Home study? Support during matching process? Matching you with expectant/birth parents?  Support during open adoption meetings?

  1. Ask the program how they locate expectant/birth parents or how the expectant parents find them.  You need to know if they do this work or if this is something YOU need to do on your own.  If you are required to post your profile on line, how do you accomplish this?
  2. Ask what the typical profile of expectant/birth parents is.  What is the experience of this particular agency or program?  How much and what type of information will be shared about you with the expectant/birth parent? How much and what type of information will be shared about the expectant/birth parent with you?
  3. Ask who works with the expectant/birth parent? How do they take social and medical histories?  Do they get prenatal records to share with you and do they confirm the pregnancy before financial support is given to the expectant mother?
  4. How does the program terminate all parental rights to the child?  How do they terminate the rights of unknown birth fathers?  How long will this process take?
  5. Who does the counseling of the expectant/birth parent?  If there is not proper counseling and assistance to anticipate the grief process, the likelihood of this becoming an adoption is low.
  6. Find out if you need to hire an attorney, agency or facilitator in another state in order to locate possible expectant parents seeking adoption for their baby.
  7. Find out how many DOMESTIC adoptions they have done in the past year? 
  8. Ask if they have ever had to “return” an already placed child?  If so, how many times?
  9. How long can you expect to wait for a successful adoption?  Will you get the opportunity to meet the expectant/birth parent?
  10. How does the agency/program support you during the process while you are waiting?
  11. Will your age affect the chances of your ability to adopt?
  12. Will having other children (biological or adopted) affect your chances of being selected?
  13. What are the costs associated with the adoption?  Are they “fixed” costs or do you pay for each “piece” of the process?  Can you lose the money that you have spent?
  14. Does the agency/program escrow your money for the adoption or expectant/birth parent expenses?  If the adoption does not go ahead, will you lose that money?
  15. What will the level of openness be in the adoption?  Will there be ongoing contact with the birthparents of your child?  If so, who and how will this be monitored?

 Once you have narrowed down your choices of adoption agency or adoption attorney, get references from others who have been successful adopting with their program or in the process of adopting.  Ask what they did like about working with this program and what they did not like about working with them. 


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