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Adoption Blog: My Paperwork Pregnancies

Choosing Your Adoption Route
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The adoption process is daunting to even veteran parents who have navigated it before. So, when I speak to hopeful first-time adopters, I sometimes equate their decision tree to one of those March Madness basketball brackets - but in reverse. The two teams in the championship game are the two basic kinds of adoption: domestic and international. Select one and then go off into the bracket on that side of the chart.

If you choose domestic adoption, then first choose a target age range for your child. If you want an older child, then your main option to adopt is through your state’s system. With this route, you’ll then have many bracket questions such as “Would I want a sibling group?”

If you want a newborn you can use a lawyer, an agency, a facilitator, or a state system. One way to help determine which best fits you is to look at your finances. A lawyer would be less expensive than an agency, which may charge fees from $15,000 up to $45,000. The state system is free.

Next you need to choose the state through which you’ll adopt. Domestic adoption is confusing because every state has its own adoption laws, which differ most notably in the amount of time allowed to pass before birth parents sign relinquishment papers and before the court of law recognizes those papers. It could be a few hours, days or weeks. Luckily you can adopt from any state no matter where you live.

If you are interested in international adoption, then first see what countries are currently open for adoptions. Recently, the Hague Treaty has ushered in many changes to international adoption. Research the country’s criteria for adoptive parents. Also see if you can adopt the age and sex you desire from that country. In general, your wait can be longer if you request a young child and/or a girl.

Once you pick a country, you can use an international agency located anywhere in the United States. Local agencies may have free seminars about the countries or have support groups for adoptive families.

Reaching the End
The Adoption Bracket is not an easy one for anyone to maneuver. Paul and I chose Domestic - Newborn - Private Agency - Texas. It seems simple to put it in those terms but there was a lot of soul searching and researching by us to get to that point.

By the time you reach the end of your bracket and decide on your route to adopt it will become clear that it was the route you were always meant to take. This bracket truly is one of the most daunting and difficult stages in the adoption process. So once you master it, pat yourself on the back and get to filling out your adoption papers!

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Meet the Author

Danielle Pennel

Danielle Pennel


I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Newborn

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