Locating a Child Available for Adoption: Top 10 Ways
Now that you've decided you're ready to welcome a child into your home, you have to decide which type of adoption to pursue, get your paperwork in order, learn about the legal adoption process, and prepare the extra bedroom for your new child. You also have to locate a child available for adoption, of course. The type of adoption you choose will help you determine where to look, but it's good to have a few irons in the fire.
The following is a list of top ten ways that you can go about locating a child available for adoption.
1. Friends, Relatives, and Coworkers
Spread the news that you're planning on adopting a child to everyone you talk to, and encourage them to do the same. Many adoption connections have been made through word-of-mouth.
2. Churches and Other Places of Worship
Religious organizations often have ties to other organizations, both domestic and international, that seek adoptive families for children in need. In addition, many national and international faith-based organizations also help facilitate adoptions.
Due to the shortage of infants available for adoption in the United States, some couples have taken more creative approaches to locating a child, including advertising in newspapers or online.
4. Online Directories
There are numerous online directories of children available for adoption, organized by state or by other various filters. Care must be taken, however, to determine the reliability of the information and its source.
Below are a few popular online directories of available children:
- Children Waiting for Adoption (Adoption.com)
- AdoptUSKids Photolisting (AdoptUSKids.org)
- State Photolists (AdoptUSKids.org)
Lawyers who work in the area of adoption and family law in general are great sources of leads. Adoption attorneys have established solid and far-reaching connections that can help you identify a child available for adoption, or connect you with birth parents even before a child is born.
Once a child or birth mother is located, your attorney can lead you through the maze of adoption paperwork, file all necessary documents with the court, represent you in court, and do all in his or her power to ensure that your adoption is successful.
6. Surrogate Parenthood
Another option for locating a child to adopt is through a surrogacy arrangement. Surrogacy involves contracting with another woman to carry a child to term, who then relinquishes custody of the child immediately after it is born. In some instances the surrogate carries a child that was conceived with sperm from the prospective father, in which case he is the legal father and only the prospective mother must adopt the child after it is born.
In other instances, the child carried and delivered by the surrogate is biologically related to neither the prospective father nor mother, in which case both parents need to adopt the child in order for their relationships to be legally recognized.
7. Foster Parenting
Being a foster parent can lead to a successful adoption, though not necessarily of the child that you are foster parenting. Sadly, many foster parents form deep bonds with their foster children and attempt to adopt them, only to have them returned to their birth families or even adopted by other couples. In other instances, however, foster parenting can lead to adoption of the foster child.
At a very minimum, being a foster parent allows you to play a significant role in a child's life, work on your parenting skills in preparation for adoption, and acquaint you with individuals who may be able to assist you in your quest to locate a child for adoption.
8. Governmental Agencies and Resources
Some local governmental units are responsible for facilitating adoptions within their geographic areas. Many children in the foster care system are waiting for adoptive families, and your local governmental unit can help facilitate a match between such a child and your family. Some foster care programs even host social events at which children eligible for adoption and prospective adoptive parents can meet and attempt to get to know each other.
Federal resources that can help you locate a child available for adoption include the following:
- Finding an Adoption Agency (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services)
- Who are the Children Waiting for Families? (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services)
- Intercountry Adoption (U.S. Dept. of State)
Your doctor and any others that you know are potentially good sources of adoption referrals. Obstetricians and family practitioners have frequent contact with unwed mothers, and they may know one that has decided to place her child for adoption.
10. Adoption Agencies
Many birth parents and prospective adoptive parents work with licensed adoption agencies. These agencies sometimes match birth and adoptive parents. On other occasions, prospective adoptive parents put their family information into a book that is reviewed by birth parents, who then select the family in which they wish their child placed. Some adoption agencies can also facilitate international adoptions.
Get Legal Help Locating a Child Available for Adoption
The adoption process is complicated and can elicit a few unexpected twists and turns along the way. A lawyer can help you decide which type of adoption is best for you, complete the paperwork, walk you through the home study process, and even help you locate a child available for adoption. Contact a local adoption law attorney today.