The Adoption Process: 10 Things to Know Before Starting

Making the decision to pursue adoption is one of the most worthwhile decisions you will ever make in your entire lifetime. It’s a big deal! Here are some tips to know before starting the adoption process.

Let’s start with one of the most important things to know before you begin the adoption process.

1) You can afford adoption.

OK, this is a big one! Please hear me on this because…

…it could literally be the difference in you successfully adopting a child or stopping before you even start.

Funding your adoption is entirely possible. If you will open your mind to the possibilities, you can afford adoption! Do not let money be the reason you do not move forward.

If you start googling the cost of adoption, it can be enough to make you think adoption is impossible. When we first considered adoption, and learned about the costs, it was overwhelming. It almost kept us from starting the adoption process all together. We spun our wheels and took years to get our finances figured out. For us, this is what took the longest. Much longer actually than waiting to be selected by a birth mom.

Those years taught us something valuable we can now share with you! There are so many financial options available for adoption. SO MANY!

The Adoption Process: 10 Things to Know Before Starting

Here’s a podcast episode where I had the opportunity to talk about our adoption story and funding adoption. Affording adoption is such an important topic and one that I get so many questions on that I have written a 20+ page guide about it. If you want to check that guide out, you can do that here.

How to afford Adoption

Here is what I really want you to grasp. If we had let finances get in the way, we would not have our two precious children! I am so glad we pushed through and figured this out!

And, I’m thrilled that I can now share what I learned to help you get started on your adoption journey much sooner than you may have thought possible.

2) Adoption is worth it!

Here me on this friends! Despite all the work. The paperwork, meetings, classes, waiting, and even the challenges of parenting, adoption is worth it! Big time! There will be ups and downs throughout your adoption journey. When you decide to start the adoption process, you are signing up for a bit of a roller coaster ride. It’s a lot like life in that way. There were times in our adoptions where doubt set in. We wondered if it would really happen.

In our first adoption, we found out that we were being considered by a birth mom, several times, only to learn later we were not selected. We waited and then we waited some more. In our second adoption, there were times when we thought the birth mom was going to change her mind. It was hard!

But, guess what? Despite all of that. It was worth it!

Every adoption is unique, and you will not have all the answers to all of the questions. Try to rest in the fact that every other couple that has ever adopted before you have had unanswered questions and times of doubt. But I promise you that once they held their child, they knew why they had to wait. They knew that they now had the child they were meant to have.

If you decide to be brave and jump into the adoption process, you will discover just how worth it adoption is.

3) The adoption process is not quick.

Adoption usually takes a while. On average, if you choose to adopt an infant, it will usually take 1 ½ – 2 years. That’s OK. I’m 41 and my husband is 45. Our kids are 2 and 4. They help keep us young 😉

While you go through the adoption process, you will be busy doing all the adoption things (paperwork, training classes, etc.) so just breathe and let God determine the timeline. And, do not let “all the things” scare you. The training classes and paperwork are just part of the process. And like anything else, when you take it one step at a time and just keep moving forward, it works out.

When I finally realized that I wanted the child God had for us and that meant I had to wait for that child to be born, I became a little more relaxed about the timing. And, now I cannot imagine my kids not being my kids. We waited for our daughter for a couple of years and we waited for our son for about 7 months.

And, guess what? It all worked out!

4) Having support while going through the adoption process is important.

Tell others! The support is important & will keep you going.

There was a time when we entertained the idea of keeping our adoption plans a secret. We thought it might be easier. In hindsight, I am so glad we told everyone!  Honestly, we could not have done it without sharing our plans. The support was integral to making adoption possible for us. Not only did the prayers and words of support help more than you could imagine, the financial support of friends (and strangers!) made all the difference.

The Adoption Process: 10 Things to Kn

We had an amazing woman we have never met in person, who heard about our adoption plans on Facebook, make a very generous donation toward our first adoption. It was on her heart to do so and that donation is what helped us reach the final amount we needed to move forward. It was an enormous blessing that we would not have received if we had not told others about our adoption plans.

5) Be yourself in your adoption profile.

I remember being nervous when it came time to create our adoption profile. It felt like our simple life, our small home, and other factors might not fare well for us when it came time to being selected. I was even more concerned that our preference to adopt a girl would go against us! It didn’t! Don’t worry about it. Just be honest. God already knows what child/ children he intends for you. And, that child is going to fit in just fine with your real life. So, be real and honest.

At the same time, I do recommend that you follow some advice when creating your profile book and really make it catch the attention of a potential birth mom. You could even have someone help you design it if you’d like.

We kept it simple and used mixbook to create a photo book. We had our adoption agency worker look over it and give us suggestions on info we might want to add.

Related: 5 Tips for Creating an Awesome Adoption Profile

6) An experienced adoption agency and/or lawyer is worth every penny.

I cannot say enough about our experience with our agency. Were there moments of frustration throughout the process? Absolutely. Probably more than I can count. But it was not the agency’s fault. When I became overwhelmed or frustrated, I was able to call our caseworker and talk it out with her. It was amazing!

Adoption Agency Questions

Also, we were able to rest in the fact that they were taking care of all the important details and we didn’t have to worry about that. I know that some people choose to adopt without an agency and if that’s your preference and you’ve done your research, go for it! But, absolutely make sure you have all the important legal details handled by someone that knows the ins and outs of adoption and all of the aspects that go into a successful adoption.

And, if you meet or even start working with someone and it doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore that gut instinct. You want to work with someone that you are confident knows the process and that cares about doing it right.

With, our first adoption we used an adoption agency. And, with our second adoption, which was a direct placement, we used an adoption lawyer. I highly suggest getting a referral for an adoption lawyer. You do not want someone inexperienced with adoption handling something (and someone) so important.

7) Open adoption is awesome!

If I could go back in time, I would not waste any time or energy being concerned about open adoption. Initially, I was so worried about what open adoption would be like. Would we be co-parenting? Would it be too invasive to allow us to form the family bond that is so vitally important?  No! Not at all.

It is now our preference that we have an open adoption.

I completely understand that open adoption can seem scary and intimidating at first. It absolutely was for me. But, now, 4 years after our first adoption, I have spoken to other adoptive parents with a closed adoption who wish their adoption was open. They wish that part of the puzzle was complete, for their child as well as for themselves. Not to mention practical things like being able to get medical information if needed.

So, if you have felt hesitant about considering open adoption, or you don’t even know what that means, take the time to read and learn a bit more about it so you can make the best decision.

For more info on open adoption, check out this post.

8) People will make careless comments. Don’t worry about it.

Remember that we, as adoptive parents, are in the minority. Most people you meet don’t adopt. It’s hard to understand something if you haven’t experienced it. Try not to take what seem to be careless comments personally.

The Adoption Process: 10 Things to Kn

One comment many adoptive parents get is about your child’s “real” parents. I’ve heard it. Again, try not to take it personally. I know we are our children’s real parents. Just smile and know that they most likely mean well. You are your child’s “real” parent in every sense of the word.

9) The love of an adopted child is the same.

Don’t ever worry that you won’t love an adopted child as much as a biological child.

It’s just not how it works.

For some encouraging quotes that speak to this, check out this post.

10) God will guide your adoption process.

As I said in the beginning, there are going to be unanswered questions. Try to rest in the fact that God already has it all worked out. He already knows who your future child is. If you just follow His lead and do the next thing in front of you, which sometimes in adoption is just to wait, you will be able to enjoy the journey much more than you otherwise would.

I’d love to hear from you! What tip do you think could make the biggest difference for you as you begin the adoption process?

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