Adopting a baby is a momentous decision for a single person or family unit. At BCFS Health and Human  (RSD) we counsel people thinking about adoption to first learn as much as possible about the actual process so they can set their expectations accordingly. 

A first step should include some self-reflection. Consider your reasons for wanting to adopt. Discuss your reasoning with your spouse or partner and other family members and friends. If you’re just starting down the adoption path, we at BCFS Health and Human Services RSD frequently advise people to take a little time and consider how adoption will impact their lives. Do you, the adopter, have a support network? Are you willing to accept that adoption (and parenting) is rarely perfect, and can you properly adapt and provide a child with unconditional love?

In the U.S., there are two pathways to infant adoption. There’s an adoption agency or an option of going through a private attorney, which is known as an “independent” adoption. An agency will handle many of the details of the process for you, while independent adoptions are best for people that want an extra measure of control. 

There’s also foster adoption, which aids the several hundred thousand kids in the foster care system, many of whom are legally open for adoption. Adopting a foster child comes with a certification process that includes invaluable mandated training, which can provide you with tips for helping your child acclimate to their new home. 

As you start to decide the type of adoption process you want to pursue, that also likely means you’ve narrowed down the age and characteristics of the child you hope to adopt. Again, we recommend asking yourself and your partner some questions to help with this decision. Do you only envision parenting a child less than a year old? Would you consider adopting an older child or siblings? If you are open to a child with special needs or one that’s experienced exposure to drugs or alcohol, are you emotionally and financially able to provide the extra support needed?

Other frequent considerations include your willingness to adopt a child of another race or cultural background and your understanding of the intricacies and challenges involved. We also suggest you think about how much interaction (if any) you’ll allow your adopted child to have with their birth parent or parents, as well as any extended birth family. Adoption is a wonderful decision for parents. By taking your time through this amazing process, you can make informed adoption decisions that are best for your prospective child.