A Guide to Choosing a Child to Adopt
Roughly 135,000 children are adopted in the United States in a given year. Children can be adopted either from families currently living in the United States or from agencies in foreign countries. Ideally, you will spend time carefully considering the type of child you would like to adopt and why before you start the process in earnest.
Will You Adopt Domestically or Internationally?
Generally speaking, it can be easier to adopt a child who currently resides in the United States as opposed to those who live internationally. This is because foreign nations may have stricter adoption guidelines compared to those imposed by American agencies. For instance, foreign countries may require that you be married, that you make a certain amount of money or that you aren’t a partner in a same-sex relationship.
When you request to adopt a child in the United States, you typically only have to show that doing so would be in the child’s best interest. In some cases, it may also be necessary to obtain permission from the child’s birth parents before the adoption can be finalized. However, this may not be the case if the parent has already had his or her rights terminated.
How Old Will Your Preferred Child Be?
You may have the opportunity to adopt a child who is only a few weeks or months old. However, there will also likely be an opportunity to adopt an older child or teenager. Your choice will typically depend on whether you want to raise a child from the beginning or simply act as a mentor to someone who needs direction in his or her life.
Of course, it is important to understand that raising a child isn’t easy regardless of how old he or she may be. Children of all ages will need both emotional and financial support for many years after they come into your home, and older children may need more time to become comfortable with the idea that you are going to be there for them for the rest of their lives.
Will You Adopt a Child With Special Needs?
A child who has an emotional or developmental disability can still grow up to be a productive member of society. It is also possible for a child who has special needs to learn, understand and follow household rules that you create. However, you will generally need to show a greater level of patience with those who have mental or physical disabilities.
It is possible that an adoption agency will want you to attend classes or take other steps in preparation to raise a child with special needs. Taking these steps may provide you with greater confidence that you are ready to face the special challenges that you may encounter. A New Jersey adoption attorney may be able to provide any additional details about the process of taking in a special-needs son or daughter.
Is Race or Gender a Concern?
You may be allowed to choose the race or gender of the child you would like to adopt. Therefore, it may be something that you will want to consider as part of doing your due diligence. While there is nothing wrong with preferring a child of one gender over the other, it is important to note that it can be rewarding to raise any child regardless of what he or she looks like. It is also worth considering that friends, family members and other resources may be available to help you handle any challenging situations that you may encounter while raising your adopted son or daughter.
If you are looking to add a new member to your family, Donald Cofsky, the New Jersey adoption attorney from Cofsky & Zeidman, may be able to help. Call our Haddonfield office by dialing (856) 429-5005 or our Woodbury office by dialing (856) 845-2555.