Adoption is one of the most unselfish acts a birth parent can make for a child when the birth parents, for whatever reasons, are unable to raise the child themselves. It is never an easy decision. It is never without pain. Putting a child’s welfare ahead of one’s own feelings is a true act of love. Adoption means placing a child legally and permanently with a family who will raise the child as their own. In some cases the birth parent(s) select the adoptive parents whom, depending upon their mutual, wishes they may or may not actually meet. In other cases, the birth parent(s) place the child with an agency which will take care of the arrangements to place the child with a pre-approved family.

Although there are many children available for adoption, there are hurdles to jump through in order to meet the requirements of the various agencies and the legalities involved. In the United States, there are older children, international children, bi-racial and special needs children who are immediately available to adopting families. There are fewer Caucasian infants (birth to one-year-old) in the United States waiting for adoption.

The couple who considers adoption may be dealing with infertility issues but desire parenthood. There is a grieving process associated with those infertility issues. The adoption process is often long and filled with ups and downs which may feel like an emotional roller coaster. There are many issues which can be emotional, spiritual, physical, legal and financial which will be involved in making this lifelong decision and commitment.

Couples considering adoption need to be fully informed about the options available for them as well as the requirements. It is important to be well informed early in the decision making process as to the legal issues and requirements . While most couples utilize adoption agencies to help them navigate the red tape, some couples take the path of private adoption.

When a child is placed with a potential adoptive couple there is a “waiting period” that allows the birth parents (depending upon state law) up to 30 days to reconsider. While legal guardianship is established with physical custody granted, the legal finalization of the adoption process, following the official home study, is usually completed at the end of one year.

While it seems as if the process leading up to the final adoption is a monumental ordeal, the adoptive parents quickly learn the trials and tribulations of being a parent. Since these issues are complex at best, remember that the Work/Life Connections-EAP is a resource for faculty and staff that offers assessment, brief counseling or referral information concerning community resources. For an appointment, call 615-936-1327.

Keywords: Adoption, Family