The path to adoption can be long and filled with anticipation.
Each adoption situation is different so we wanted to cover some of the more common roadblocks you might (or may already) face.
It doesn’t matter if you’re working your way through a domestic adoption or a foreign adoption, there will always be some sort of legal hoops you will have to jump through.
For domestic adoptions, there is the fact that each state has its own laws regarding adoption. One state can have a completely different set of laws from another state governing the relinquishment of a parent’s rights, how to deal with unknown fathers who can adopt, and what laws need to be followed when the child leaves state lines.
With a foreign adoption, there is a whole set of laws for each country involved. Moreover, your foreign adoption will also be impacted by whether the county of origin of the child is a signatory of the Hague Convention.
In the United States, your marital status may affect your ability to adopt, depending on the state. Some states require that if you are separated (but not divorced) from your spouse, you will need his consent to adopt. Other states will not allow unmarried couples to adopt and other states will not allow same-sex couples to adopt (married or not). Hiring an attorney or agency is your best bet to work through this roadblock for domestic adoption.
Other countries often require you to be a married couple (not same-sex) to adopt. Some countries such as Thailand require you to be married for at least two years to be eligible for a foreign adoption. Before choosing a country to adopt from, you (or your attorney) need to check into their marital status requirements to make sure you qualify.
Neither domestic adoption or foreign adoption is cheap. On average, either adoption could cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 depending on what agency you choose, what lawyer you choose, and what type of adoption you choose. Things that are a part of the cost may include:
- Court and legal fees
- The birth mother’s expenses
- And more
Costs vary by state and country, so again, hiring an experienced lawyer or agency can help you with this. There may also be grants, tax credits, and subsidies that will help you pay for your adoption. Some employers also will help.
You can get more information here.
The typical adoption time can take anywhere from 12 months to 7 years, depending on the type of adoption. Other factors affecting the timeline of adoption include the country you are adopting from and what characteristics (age, gender, background) of child you are looking for.
For example, healthy newborns typically have a long list of those wanting to adopt, than those with special needs.
Wanting to adopt from a specific country may also affect your wait time.
Regarding reducing a protracted wait time, if you are not particular about age or what country your child comes from, this can greatly reduce your wait time. Likewise, if you are interested in a special needs child or a child from foster care. Being willing to do an open adoption will increase your chances of a smaller wait time.
There are (more than) a few different scenarios where the birth parents can become a roadblock:
Birth Mother Not Honest
In this case either the birth mother was never pregnant or she did not intend to give up the baby in the first place. Most often this happens when you choose to do the adoption on your own and find your own birth mother. You can possibly avoid this by having a good lawyer or agency helping you. Unfortunately, if this happens to you, there is no compensation for your time, money, or emotional investment.
Birth Parents Back Out
Unfortunately, birth parents do have the right to back out of the deal. Most states require a waiting period between the birth of the child and when the paperwork can be finalized (usually 3 days). In some states, though, the parents can change their minds even after the paperwork is signed and finalized. Having a good lawyer to fight for you is your best recourse in this situation.
Resources for consent and state statue laws can be found here.
Unfortunately, hiring an agency that is not trustworthy is a possibility. They may not follow through or tell you they have a child for you even though they do not. Listening to your gut and doing your research will help you avoid this adoption roadblock. Having an attorney in your corner certainly helps too!
Avoiding most of these roadblocks can be done by having an experienced legal team on your side to help guide you through the adoption process.