Adopting a Baby in Tennessee
5 Things You Should Know About the Process
Adopting a baby in Tennessee is an exciting, life-changing journey — and it’s also a serious commitment. Before you start the process to adopt a baby in TN, there are a lot of factors to consider: Are you truly ready for the infant adoption process? Do you meet the requirements to adopt a newborn in Tennessee? How do you adopt a baby in the Volunteer State?
Fortunately, you don’t have to answer these questions on your own; our specialists at American Adoptions are always available to answer your questions and help you get started with your newborn adoption in Tennessee. You can call 1-800-ADOPTION any time to learn more about Tennessee adoption with our agency, or request your free information here.
In the meantime, here are the five basic things you should know about how to adopt a baby in Tennessee:
1. Making the decision to adopt is the first — and most important — step.
If you can confidently say the words, “I want to adopt a baby in Tennessee,” you are already a step ahead in the adoption process. Making the decision to adopt is not always easy; many adoptive families struggle with infertility or other challenges on their path to parenthood and need to acknowledge and grieve these losses before they can fully commit to the adoption process.
Once they have determined that they are emotionally ready for adoption, individuals hoping to adopt should also make sure they meet the various requirements to adopt an infant in Tennessee and be prepared for the unique challenges that come along with the process. Keep in mind that there are many ways to become a family, and while adopting a newborn can be an incredible, life-changing experience, it’s not always the right choice for everyone. Hopeful adoptive parents may wish to research all of their options, including foster care and international adoption, before committing to a Tennessee infant adoption.
If you aren’t quite sure that you’re ready to adopt a newborn baby in TN, that’s okay. You can contact American Adoptions at any point in your research to learn more about the domestic infant adoption process and explore your options.
On the other hand, once you know that you are eligible to adopt and are certain that you want to adopt a baby in Tennessee, you can start the adoption process — and know that with patience and commitment, you will become the parent you’ve always dreamed of being.
2. Your adoption professional can make or break your experience.
Once you’ve decided to pursue newborn adoption in Tennessee, your next step is to choose an adoption professional. This is an incredibly important decision and one that will shape the rest of your adoption experience.
Parents looking to adopt a baby in Tennessee have many choices when it comes to an adoption professional, including:
Adoption attorneys or law firms: An adoption attorney is required in every Tennessee baby adoption to complete the necessary legal steps of the process. Families who work with an agency will typically be provided this legal counsel through their agency. However, other families choose to complete an independent adoption using only a Tennessee adoption attorney. This is common for adoptive parents who are familiar with the adoption process and feel confident in their ability to find a baby for adoption in TN on their own.
Local adoption agencies: Local adoption agencies in Tennessee are licensed and regulated by the state and may have offices nearby. These professionals typically only work with adoptive parents and women placing babies for adoption in Tennessee or the surrounding area. This may allow for more in-person meetings at the agency, but it can also lead to a longer adoption wait time and a less predictable adoption process.
Adoption facilitators or law centers: Adoption facilitators and adoption law centers are unregulated organizations that offer adoption matching services (and little else). Facilitators are illegal in many states because of their predatory practices and, because the laws regarding adoption facilitators in Tennessee are complex, it is generally recommended that adoptive families work with a licensed child-placing agency or adoption attorney instead of retaining a facilitator.
National adoption agencies: National adoption professionals like American Adoptions are licensed child-placing agencies that are typically regulated and reviewed by several states. Because national agencies work with prospective birth mothers and adoptive families in Tennessee and across the country, they offer the shortest adoption wait times, lower financial risk and many more benefits than smaller, local adoption professionals.
Your choice of adoption professional will determine the quality of adoption services you receive, the amount you pay for those services, the time it will take you to adopt, the risks you will face during the adoption process and more. It is important to do thorough research and learn everything you can about the different Tennessee adoption professionals to make the best choice for your growing family.
3. Adopting an infant in Tennessee takes work…
Your adoption professional will be your guide through every step of adopting an infant in Tennessee — but you will still need to complete some important steps of the adoption process before you’ll be ready to bring an adopted child home.
Different adoption agencies may vary in their requirements and processes for hopeful parents to become an “active” or “waiting” family. With American Adoptions, you’ll need to complete the following steps before you can be considered for potential adoption opportunities:
Complete your APQ and other paperwork. Your adoption specialist will help you complete an Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ), which outlines your goals for the adoption process and the types of adoption opportunities you are willing to accept. This includes everything from your adoption budget to the types of children you feel you can successfully parent. Your adoption specialist will use this APQ to connect you with women placing their newborns for adoption who have similar goals and preferences.
Create an adoptive family profile. Every waiting family with American Adoptions completes a print and video profile, which will be shown to women considering placing their babies for adoption in the U.S. These profiles allow prospective birth mothers to get to know hopeful adoptive parents and choose the perfect adoptive family for their baby.
Satisfy home study requirements. The Tennessee adoption home study is a crucial step of the adoption process that guarantees a family is prepared and excited to welcome an adopted baby into their home. Your adoption specialist will help you prepare for the home study and refer you to a trusted, Tennessee-licensed home study provider.
The steps to become an active waiting family can seem overwhelming at times, but remember: each of these processes and requirements is in place for a reason, and each brings you one step closer to welcoming your child home.
4. …But finding the child who is meant to be part of your family makes it all worthwhile.
Few phone calls are more memorable or meaningful than the one you will get when you have been selected for an adoption opportunity! Once you become an active waiting family, you can be chosen by a prospective birth mother at any time, making this an exciting part of the adoption process. On average, most adoptive parents with American Adoptions are able to adopt within 1–12 months of going active.
When you are selected for an adoption opportunity, you may have the chance to get to know the prospective birth parents through pre-placement contact mediated by American Adoptions. You may be nervous at first, but don’t worry — your adoption specialist will help you prepare for that first conversation. This is your chance to start building a strong relationship that will last a lifetime!
When it is time for the baby to be born, your adoption specialist will contact you and notify you that it is time to travel to the hospital where the prospective birth mother is staying. Based on her hospital plan, this will be your opportunity to meet the prospective birth mother — and interact with your baby for the first time.
5. Adoption is a lifelong journey.
After placement at the hospital, American Adoptions and your adoption attorney will walk you through the legal steps you will need to take to finalize your adoption. Once you have satisfied all the necessary post-placement requirements, your adoption will be finalized in court, and your baby will be an official, permanent and legal member of your family!
But the adoption process doesn’t end there. Your journey is just beginning, and adoption will continue to shape your life for years to come. As an adoptive parent, it will be up to you to talk to your child about adoption often, raising them to be proud of their adoption story and confident in their identity.
In addition, 95 percent of adoptions today involve some degree of openness, which means you will keep in touch with your child’s birth family for years to come. Your open adoption may involve exchanging pictures and letters, phone calls, emails, visits or whatever form of contact was agreed upon in your adoption plan. American Adoptions is happy to help facilitate this post-placement contact, if necessary.
If you are ready to adopt a baby in Tennessee, or if you would like to receive more information about the domestic infant adoption process with our agency, call 1-800-ADOPTION now or request free information here.
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