Five Things to Know Before Adopting a Child
By adding to your family through adoption, you give a child a second chance and take part in a life experience many parents and couples find rewarding. However, adoption is not a decision to make lightly, and adopting a child requires dedication, commitment, and perseverance. As you consider adoption, you should familiarize yourself as much as possible with the legal process, procedures, and qualifications you must meet for success. You should also consider these five factors as you make your decision.
Why Do You Want to Adopt?
The reason a person or couple wants to adopt will often predict how resilient and responsible they will be as adoptive parents. One of the reasons why the adoption process is so rigorous is to ensure that prospective adoptive parents do not embark on this journey for the wrong reasons.
Carefully examine why you want to adopt, and have your reasons front and center as you navigate the process. Remember that adoption is a physical, familial, and time commitment. Those who decide adoption is right for them because it satisfies their loneliness or quickly fulfills their desire for children are not setting themselves up for success. Even if you think adoption is the way to go for altruistic reasons, but you are not ready to support a child in other areas of your life, it is probably not prudent for you or the child’s welfare to continue with the process.
What Form of Adoption Is Ideal for You?
Adoption comes in multiple forms. When people think of adoption, they often picture raising a child from another part of the world, most commonly Asia, Latin America, or Europe. The foreign adoption process will involve the laws of two different countries and be informed by two very different cultures. With international adoption, there will be additional paperwork to manage, and you must commit to frequent or long travels overseas.
You may also choose to adopt an American child, whether from the foster care system or as an infant. While the legal process is simplified if you decide to adopt domestically, you may also have to navigate a closer relationship with the child’s biological parents.
How Old Is the Child You Want to Adopt?
The child’s age will dictate many of your responsibilities as an adoptive parent. If you adopt an infant, you should be willing and prepared to dedicate more time and money to their care and be prepared to adapt as they grow. On the other hand, a school-aged child can participate more in their own care, and you will know more about their background before meeting them or proceeding with adoption.
What Does the Child Need to Transition, and How Must I Support Them?
The older the child you adopt, the longer and more intensive a transition both they and you must navigate. There is plenty a child must become accustomed to after an adoption, beyond simply getting to know, love, and trust their adoptive parents. They may have to determine where they stand in their new family structure, lifestyle, or culture, especially if they came from another country. They may also have to grapple with past experiences from their old life, sometimes including abuse or neglect.
What Legal Services Do I Need?
When American families decide to adopt, they may go through either a private agency or directly through their lawyer.
Some agencies specialize in adoptions by prospective parents of certain religious beliefs or other demographics. You may have to meet additional requirements and participate in extra procedures according to the policies they set. However, to compensate, they may offer you other services and benefits to help you in the process and get accustomed to being an adoptive parent.
Whether or not you use an agency, you should consider retaining an attorney to help you. An experienced counsel will represent you in judicial adoption proceedings and help you finalize arrangements. If a private agency rejects you, you may be able to navigate the procedure fully through your lawyer, which may save you money and time.
Contact a San Antonio Adoption Lawyer Today
If you’re in the eight-county San Antonio-New Braunfels area and considering adoption, let the San Antonio adoption attorneys of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. be your legal guides. Partners Charles Hardy, Harold Zuflacht, Amy Geistweidt, and David Emory are Board Certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, an official distinction recognizing excellence and experience with adoption and child custody matters. Contact our office today at (210) 349-9933 to learn more about the ways we can assist you.