Adoption Process

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Where Can You Find a Child To Adopt?
In the United States, very few Caucasian infants are free for adoption, and agencies prefer to place them with couples, understandably. The U.S.- born children whom single people can adopt from public or private agencies are likely to be the harder-to-place: school-aged (especially boys), physically or mentally handicapped, emotionally troubled, or from minority groups; or they may be siblings whom the agency does not want to separate. They are children first and disadvantaged second; they need, and can give, as much love as any child.

There is social pressure today to place black or biracial children only with African-American parents, and laws strongly discouraging adoption of American Indian children by parents who have no Native American forebears.

All U.S. states and many localities make financial assistance available in various forms to help place "special needs" children and to defray expenses the parents may incur as the children grow older. This includes subsidies, tax benefits, and assistance such as Medicaid that follow the child wherever the parent moves, and may last for several years.

Single people in the U.S. may also adopt from any continent in the world—a baby girl from China, a toddler from Latin America, boys and girls from the former Soviet Union, beautiful children from Africa. Some are healthy; some may have special needs. Adoption from abroad, especially from Latin America and Eastern Europe, can be expensive-- and the process maddeningly long and complex, all of which you forget when the child comes home.

Costs for agency adoptions can range from nothing for a waiting child from a public agency, to tens of thousands of dollars to a private agency placing a healthy infant or toddler. Independent private adoption of infants is difficult but possible, and can cost many thousands of dollars. Foreign adoption costs can move into the low tens of thousands depending on the source country; and include agency fees, foreign- source fees, round-trip travel and living expenses abroad, and smaller costs for translation, document preparation, and visa processing.

How Do You Go About Adopting?
As a single woman or man, you should find a local agency that will conduct a "home study": an assessment of your character, community, childhood, living space, financial capacity to support a child, and intensity of your desire to adopt. If the agency cannot provide a child you want to adopt, you can ask to have your study sent to other agencies that have "sources" of adoptable children elsewhere in your own country or in foreign countries. Not every agency will accept a single applicant, and some do so only grudgingly; look elsewhere. Many agencies, or their sources, are not enthusiastic about single male applicants, and men who want to adopt should take the initiative to persuade their agencies that they will make good, sound, and loving parents.

The second most valuable step is to find and join an adoptive parent support group. Most of the members will have adopted already, and can provide good tips on local agencies and other sources, as well as encouragement and emotional support throughout the process. Most support groups comprise couples with a few single members, but almost thirty in the U.S. and Canada exist for single people only.

What Do Agencies Look For?
An agency wants to place with mature couples or single people in good jobs offering financial stability, and with people who really, really, want a child. Fortunately we fill the bill--single applicants are usually in their mid or upper thirties, well-educated and in good, stable, middle-income jobs. Agencies are not eager to work with applicants who might have difficulty parenting a child "not their own" or who are trying to persuade a reluctant spouse. We are people who know our own minds, and already know that we can love a child not born to us.

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