Many prospective parents are surprised by just how complex and legally involved adopting a child can be. Understanding how to effectively tackle various parts of the process, such as preparing your house for the home study, can help you welcome a new family member into your life with less stress.
At Notaro Calabrese & Epstein, we shoulder the legal burden of the adoption process for parents. Contact us online or via phone at (412) 281-1988 for help with your adoption.
Understanding Closed Vs. Open Adoption
Whether you choose to have a closed or open adoption could greatly impact the overall process of welcoming a new family member into your home.
In an open adoption, the child's biological parents maintain contact with their child and the adoptive parents post-adoption. Conversely, in a closed adoption, the biological parents have no contact with their child post-adoption.
Open adoptions have advantages, such as making it easier for an adoptive child to seek out their parents and learn more about their history, but some adoptive parents might not be comfortable with continued contact among all the parties post-adoption. Similarly, closed adoptions may feel more secure, but it may also make it harder to obtain medical records for the child if they develop an unexpected condition later in life, or increase the difficulty of putting the child in contact with their biological parents if they wish to do so.
The choice you make here could significantly impact the ease with which you adopt a child since open adoptions often require the consent of the biological parent, so it's something you'll want to think about sooner rather than later.
Consider Speaking with a Child Psychologist During and After Adopting
As a parent, a child psychologist can help you prepare for how your life will change with a new child in your life. Importantly, they can also provide you with parenting advice that can help you put your best foot forward in interviews with adoption professionals.
Many adopted children have experienced some sort of trauma that removed them from their parents. During and after the adoption, a child psychologist can help you identify that trauma and create an effective plan to help your child process and move past it.
Evaluate Your Emotional & Financial Status
Whether you choose to engage in a private adoption or adopt through the foster care system, you'll be working closely with adoption professionals throughout the adoption process. If you can't pass their assessments, you probably won't be cleared to adopt.
Adoption professionals will analyze your emotional competency, as we covered previously. However, they'll also take account of your financial status to ensure you can provide your adoptive child with the life they deserve.
Professionals such as lawyers can help you understand what adoption professionals expect from prospective parents. Many adoption agencies will also be willing to work with you, so you're sure you pass muster by the time you begin the adoption process.
Child-Proof Your Home
The home study is one of the most important aspects of adopting a child, and also the step at which many prospective parents slip up. Adoption professionals will come to your house and assess whether it can provide an adoptee with a good quality of life. Some steps you may want to take will include:
- Child-proofing locks on cabinet doors and other areas so a child in the house can't gain access to potentially dangerous materials;
- Ensuring small and breakable objects are firmly out of a child's reach;
- Make sure surfaces won't hurt a child if they crawl or fall on it;
- Try and create rounded and sloped edges for house features such as cabinets, to prevent the child from potentially hurting themselves on sharp edges;
- Supply adoption professionals with full documentation of yourself and any other prospective parents, including medical records, background checks, identification, autobiographical statements about why you wish to adopt and your history, and references;
- Have screens on elements such as doors and windows to prevent a child from wandering outside;
- Put up fencing around any remaining features (such as a pool) that could be dangerous.
Your adoption professional will attend the home study with the intention of helping you and ensuring you're ready for adoption, but making a good first impression and showing that you're willing to put in time and effort without their assistance will help you make a good impression.
At Notaro Calabrese & Epstein, our attorneys are here to shepherd you through the process of welcoming a new family member into your lives.
To schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about our process, contact us online or via phone at (412) 281-1988.