Deciding on adoption

It's a life-changing experience, for the adoptive parents and the child.
Few experiences are as life-changing as adoption, both for the adoptive parents and the child.

Before you adopt, you'll want to read these helpful tips to help you decide if adoption is the right option.

Before commiting to the adoption process, you'll need to consider very carefully things such as what type of child you are interested in raising. Deciding whether you want an infant, an older child, a special-needs child or a group of siblings will also direct your adoption approach. Below is an overview of the different adoption options including costs and timetables.
  • Public Agencies

  • If you're looking to adopt a special-needs child, public agencies can help. According to the North American Council on Adoptable Children, a child with "special needs" refers to a child's age and his or her emotional and physical background.

    Special-needs children may be in foster care and can include children who have been abused or have physical or mental disabilities. While there is generally no charge to adopt a special-needs child, adoption expenses (which may include a home study and an attorney) can reach $5,000.

    The process often begins slowly, but placement can occur within months of completing a home study. To begin a public agency adoption, you'll need to contact the state Department of Child and Family Services.

  • Private agency adoption

  • A quick scan of our profiles on will reveal a number of private adoption agencies. Special-needs children are sometimes available for adoption through a private agency, but these agencies generally match families with infants and young children.

    The cost to adopt through a private agency is higher than through a public one; according to NACAC, the cost can reach $25,000.

    Private agencies also are able to recruit parents based on whatever criteria they choose. Adoption, especially of an infant, may take years but sometimes it can be completed as quickly as in a few months.

  • International adoptions

  • Americans are eligible to adopt a child from about 88 nations. International adoptions are handled by private agencies as well as international adoption organizations; the cost to adopt can range from about $7,000 to about $30,000.

    Each country and agency has its own set of requirements and qualifications for parents looking to adopt. Because health and political situations abroad vary, the adoption process can take from six months to several years.

  • Independent or private adoption

  • If you want to select your adopted child's birth mother, or you have one in mind already, you'll want to hire a family attorney to assist you in making this kind of adoption process legal.

    Private adoptions usually involve adopting an infant, and the attorney fees and costs that those who are adopting usually incur can be as high as $40,000. Birth mothers have a say in who adopts their child, and the tendency is toward affluent, married couples.

    The time period for independent adoption varies from case to case, and depends usually on the time it takes to find a birth mother for adoption.

Popular on Kudzu

  1. Independent senior community living benefits
  2. Transitioning to senior living
  3. Choosing a funeral home
  4. Home features to consider when moving to a retirement community
  5. Fun new activities to try in retirement

ENJOY THIS ARTICLE? Sign up for more articles, tips and savings

From Our Experts