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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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Information About Adoption You Need to Know

If you’re interested in adoption information, you’ve come to the right place. As one of the leading private domestic adoption agencies in the U.S., American Adoptions can provide you all the information on adoption you need to decide if adoption is right for you, whether you’re a prospective birth parent or adoptive parent.

Choosing adoption is not a decision you make overnight but one you make after extensive research about adoption and what it will mean for you. Fortunately, we have adoption specialists available to talk with you anytime at 1-800-ADOPTION and provide you resources to help you make this life-changing decision.

In the meantime, here is some important information about adoption to be aware of:

What You Need to Know About Adoption

In general terms, adoption occurs when children who cannot be raised by their biological or legal parents become full and legal permanent members of another family. Today’s adoptions are very different from the closed, secretive adoptions of the past; in fact, the majority of children adopted today maintain their genetic and psychological connections to their birth family through open adoption.

Adoption can take place in several ways: domestic infant adoption (where a newborn child is placed with adoptive parents right after they’re born), foster care adoption and international adoption. Each of these processes come with their own pros and cons, and which one a prospective adoptive family chooses may be based on their budget, how long they want to wait and their preferences for an adopted child.

For more context, here are some adoption information statistics for the United States:

  • Approximately 2.5 percent of all children in the U.S. are adopted.

  • The state with the largest percentage of adopted children is Alaska.

  • Almost 200,000 children adopted in 2000 were born in a foreign country.

  • In 85 percent of U.S. adoptions, at least one adoptive parent has a high school degree.

  • About 28 percent of adoptions are transracial.

To learn more about adoption and the adoption process with American Adoptions, please call an adoption specialist today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Common Questions About Adoption

When you’re considering adoption as a prospective birth or adoptive parent, you likely have a lot of questions about what exactly the process will mean for you. Our adoption specialists can discuss your individual situation in detail with you, but for more information on adoption, we’ve answered some common questions below:

1. Who can adopt a child?

Adoption requirements vary depending on a number of factors: hopeful adoptive parents will need to meet the requirements of their chosen adoption agency, complete an approved adoption home study and be eligible to adopt under their state’s adoption laws.

In most states, nearly any adult may be legally eligible to adopt, as long as they prove that they can provide a safe, stable and loving home to an adopted child. However, individual adoption agencies may have different requirements for hopeful adoptive parents. For example, while same-sex couples and LGBT individuals can legally adopt in all 50 states, certain states have recently passed or proposed legislation that would allow faith-based adoption professionals to reject certain types of adoptive families — including gay, single, Jewish, Muslim or interfaith couples.

As a national adoption agency, American Adoptions works with and promotes all types of parents from across the United States. Even as new laws and regulations are established in the future, we remain committed to protecting adoptive parents’ rights and providing safe, loving homes to children — regardless of an adoptive family’s religious beliefs, sexual orientation or other factors.

To learn more about adoption laws in your state or American Adoptions’ programs and requirements, contact an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION.

2. How much does adoption cost?

For adoptive families, adoption costs will vary not only by which kind of adoption process they choose but also by which adoption professional they work with. Because different professionals offer different services, their costs will reflect those differences. However, it’s important to keep in mind that cheaper professionals may not be the best choice for your adoption situation. We encourage all prospective adoptive families to do their research on different adoption professionals to determine how their costs reflect the services they offer.

On the other hand, prospective birth mothers do not have to pay anything for their adoption. They may even receive living expenses that cover their pregnancy- and adoption-related costs, and, while they do not “get paid” for adoption, it will never be a financial burden for them.

3. How long does adoption take?

Again, like the previous question, this answer will depend upon the adoption professional and how long it takes for a birth mother to choose an adoptive family. At American Adoptions, 75 percent of our adoptive families complete their adoption one to 12 months after they are activated (which can take a couple of months beforehand). There are some critical factors to how long you’ll wait, including how far along a prospective birth mother is in her pregnancy and your flexibility in your adoption preferences.

4. What are the requirements for adoption?

If you’re a prospective adoptive parent, your state will have specific qualifications for becoming adoptive parents. These usually include criminal background screenings, an extensive home study process and counseling with adoption specialists to determine whether you’re physically, financially and emotionally ready to raise an adopted child.

No matter whether you’re a prospective adoptive or birth parent, the most important requirement for adoption is that you’re certain it’s the right choice for you. If you have concerns, you can always discuss them with our adoption specialists at 1-800-ADOPTION.

These are probably just a few of the questions about adoption in your head right now, so we encourage you to reach out to our adoption specialists for more adoption information.

Popular Myths About Adoption

Adoption has come a long way from what it used to be, but that doesn’t mean that education about the process has improved as well. In fact, there are still some fairly common misconceptions about adoption that persist today — ones that you might even hold yourself.

Here’s the run-down on some of those false beliefs about adoption.

1.“Adopted children will never know their birth parents.”

While this was common in early 20th-century adoptions, today, these closed adoptions are all but nonexistent. Many prospective birth mothers only choose adoption because of the opportunity it provides to stay in contact with their child’s adoptive family throughout the years, whether directly or through mediated contact.

Whether an adopted child ever meets their birth parents face-to-face will depend on the nature of their open adoption, but the vast majority of adopted children grow up knowing about their adoption and their personal family history. Open adoption has proven to be immensely beneficial in shaping an adopted child’s self-identity and helps them develop a sense of pride in their adoption story — so it’s a trend that won’t be going away soon.

2.“A birth mother will try to get her child back.”

When an adoption is completed, birth parents sign away all of the legal parental rights they have to their child. Therefore, it’s impossible for them to “get their baby back” after the revocation period for their adoption consent is up.

Remember that birth parents choose adoption for a reason; they know they are not ready to parent their child, but they want to give them the chance to have a loving family. While it may be an emotional journey for them, birth parents understand they’re making the best choice for their baby — and would never jeopardize that opportunity by trying to “get their child back” after the adoption is complete. You may be surprised to know that open adoption actually makes this occurrence less likely.

3. “Most women who choose adoption for their babies are teenagers.”

When many people think of adoption, they think of unplanned teenage pregnancies — but the average birth mother is actually in her 20s or 30s and is already raising another child. Many are single parents, so they understand the time, money and effort needed to successfully raise a child. It’s this understanding that motivates them to choose adoption, knowing that they can’t provide the kind of life they want for their unborn baby.

4. “The only children available for adoption are children with special needs or other disabilities.”

While there are plenty of children within the foster care system who may fit this description, there are also many healthy newborn babies available to adopt through private domestic infant adoption. Prospective adoptive parents are able to decide what kind of disabilities (if any) they’re comfortable with in an adopted child, as well as the medical history and race of their adopted child. You should know that 85 percent of adopted children are actually rated to have “excellent” or “very good health,” regardless of their family history.

Unfortunately, these are only a few of the adoption myths people believe today. This is why it’s so important to read as much adoption information as possible if you’re a prospective adoptive or birth parent — so you know the truth about the adoption process and what to expect.

How to Learn More About Adoption

While our American Adoptions website has a wealth of adoption information for you to use in your research, you’ll want to consult other resources as well. The more you learn about adoption before committing to it, the more prepared you will be when you take the first steps of your adoption process.

Our adoption specialists can provide you with local resources if you’re curious about adoption, but here are some good places to start:

Remember, if you’re considering adoption, it’s important that you fully research whatever kind of adoption you want to complete, the professional you plan to use for your adoption and any other questions you have about adoption. Our professionals are always available to answer your questions at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.