If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve considered adopting a child. If you’re like most potential adoptive parents, you’ve wondered: “How long will I wait for a placement?” and “How much does it cost to adopt?”
Whether already immersed in research or just starting the adoption journey, most families have a lot of questions by the time they reach out to me. Many, like you, may have talked about, dreamt, and even prayed for the day that they would become a parent. Perhaps they had no idea that the desire to adopt would be placed in their heart or maybe they’ve known for years that infertility or other situations would prevent them from adding to their family. Whatever reason brings you to adoption, you’re not alone.
Adoption is a beautiful story that unfolds before my eyes every day. From the moment a family turns in an application to be considered for our program to the day we sit at court and hear them promise to take care of their new little bundle of joy for eternity, we are there every step of the way. Your adoption caseworkers are on your team, cheering you on as you make the leap from “something’s missing” to “I can’t imagine life before this child.”
As beautiful as adoption is, it’s also equally nerve-wracking, for lack of a better term. There are mountains of paperwork, home safety checks, match meetings that may or may not work out, and endless things to research. When I meet with a potential adoptive family for the first time, there are two main questions that they are eager to ask: “How long will I have to wait?” and “How much does it cost?”
Although these are the most common questions I’m asked, neither has a clear cut answer. I hate it just as much as you when the answer to your most burning questions is: “It depends.” In response to how long you will wait, the best I can do is provide an average of how long other families have waited. Each family is unique and so is the child they are going to adopt. If you are open to every race and gender, for example, your profile will be shown to more birth families. However, if you’re truly not comfortable with parenting a child of a different race, please do not state that you are. There are many families who are so eager for a placement that they put themselves, their adoption worker, and worst of all the adoptee, in a situation where they are parenting a child that they may not be comfortable with. The key is to sit down and really decide if you’re open to things because you are motivated for a placement, or because you are really ready to adopt. Are you ready to parent an adopted child? Even when you’re adopting a child from birth, they will have tough questions about their background and you, as their parent, will need to have beautiful, but realistic answers.
On average, our adoptive families wait one to two years for a placement. We have seen families chosen within weeks of being approved and we have seen others wait longer. What I do know is this: when I meet your birthmother and address whatever reasons have brought her to this decision, we will all be blessed for having her in our lives. She will always be a part of you, and your child’s story. So however long she takes to get to us, try to be patient and enjoy the time preparing for your arrival. While you wait, you can use the time to read recommended books about adoption, volunteer, journal, and fundraise.
Families can expect to spend anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000+ on an adoption. The reasons for this large range in cost are the many factors that will go into your specific match. If you choose to take part in the Adoption from the Heart program at Caritas Family Solutions, our fees will be $15,300. In addition to these, you will also be given the opportunity to help cover expenses for your birthmother, who may desperately need assistance with her basic living expenses, such as rent, utilities, and clothing. You will also have legal fees, which are typically around $3,000. If you choose to find a placement outside of Illinois, or work with a national adoption agency, these costs will add to the services you need, including travel, and possibly more legal fees. When you’re working with your adoption caseworker, let them know your budget, and what situations you’re comfortable with when it comes to assisting your birthmother. These things will help guide and ensure that you’re adequately prepared for the financial portion of your adoption.
Valari Veteto has been an Adoption Specialist with Caritas Family Solutions since September 2014. To learn more about our adoption services, click here or call 618-985-2000 or 1-800-997-9381.