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4 tips to make the adoption process way less scary

Creator of Beyond Infertility, an online magazine and community support site for families who have gone through infertility. Also founder of The Adoption Consultancy.

The adoption process doesn't have to be overwhelming

The spooky season is upon us, full of mystery and magic that comes with the Halloween holiday. Some people feel that Halloween is similar to adoption in that it seems mysterious and full of surprises, but understanding some basics about the process will help you begin your adoption journey on the right foot. To celebrate the season, here are some scary good tips for adoption success.

More: Domestic adoption isn't as scary or impossible as it may seem

Don’t believe in adoption myths

There are many myths surrounding adoption that cause people to second guess their path. Understanding what is myth and what is fact will help you make better decisions during your journey and will build confidence throughout the process.

For example:

  • Birth parents cannot take the child back after the adoption is completed. They sign consent forms that terminate their parental rights. However, most domestic adoptions these days have some level of mutually agreed upon openness. This means that the adoptive parents and the birth parents will stay in contact at some level that, ideally, is beneficial for the child. This is proven to help improve the child’s development and emotional well-being.
  • International adoption is popular among celebrities, but is often more expensive, more unpredictable, and takes longer than domestic adoption.
  • There are no legal restrictions keeping LGBQT families from adopting. While individual agencies might have different policies, gay and lesbian singles and couples are able to adopt like anyone else. However the process might take longer due to birth mother preferences.

Start now and be ready by New Year's Eve

Waiting until the first of the year to start your adoption journey could needlessly draw out your waiting period. When you begin adoption, you have to learn about the process, select your professionals, create your profile, complete your home study, and then wait. But many potential birth mothers who find out they are pregnant near the end of the year will put off making a decision until January, making January and February a busy time for matches. If you start now, you can be ready to be presented to prospective birth mothers in January.

More: 3 ways to avoid being offensive when talking about adoption

Find a team of adoption professionals

There is no question that the adoption process is confusing! Trying to learn the process and do it yourself will cause bumps in your journey towards a family and will significantly lengthen the process. You have to know the best way to present yourself to a prospective birth mother, to sign up with multiple adoption agencies, to have a risk assessment performed on every opportunity, and the list goes on. This doesn’t even include understanding your state’s particular adoption laws which can vary wildly, the best method to lobby your employer for adoption leave, or different ways to pay for adoption and reduce the costs where you can.

It is important to hire people, such as an adoption consultant, who understand the process and know exactly what you need to do to see a quick and successful adoption.

Keep an open and flexible mind

There may be some firm parameters you have for the opportunities that you’ll consider, but understand the more requirements you have, the longer your wait time will be. For example, some people want to adopt a boy instead of a girl, or vice versa and they expect that to eliminate about 50 percent of their opportunities. What they don’t factor in is all the potential birth moms who are unaware of the baby’s gender prior to selecting a family. This is just one example of how it’s important to be fully informed of the implications of each of your decisions. You don’t have to give up things that are important to you for the sake of a shorter wait time, but realize the process could take longer the more criteria you have.

More: An adoptive parent's guide to the first day of school

Nicole Witt is the owner of The Adoption Consultancy (, an unbiased resource serving pre-adoptive families by providing them with the education, information and guidance they need to safely adopt a newborn, usually within three to 12 months.

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