Adopting a child is an exciting and wonderful event. The process will go a lot more smoothly if you prepare yourself with knowledge about how adoption works before you begin. Here are some things to keep in mind as you consider the adoption process.

* Open, semi-open and closed adoptions

This is the most important decision you will make as you begin the adoption process.

In an open adoption, an adopted child can maintain contact with his birth parents. An open adoption includes letters, emails, phone calls, and personal visits. It can be helpful for the child’s sense of wholeness and healing to be in contact with his birth parents, but this depends on the situation and lifestyles of the biological parents, of course.

As the adoptive parents, it is your decision as to whether you will allow open contact, but it should be a child-focused decision. It’s not about your convenience or preference; it’s about what is best for the adopted child.

Semi-open adoptions limit but do not prohibit the contact the adopted child can have with her birth parents. Generally, semi-open adoptions include receiving written correspondence and gifts from the biological parents, but no personal visits or phone calls.

Closed adoptions mean no contact is allowed between the adopted child and her birth parents.

* Domestic adoptions

Domestic adoptions, or adopting a child from your own country, can mean a long wait. Also, babies and children up for adoption in the United States tend to have behavioral or physical problems, which may or may not be an issue for a prospective adoptive parent. It is easier to obtain the medical history of the child in a domestic adoption, however.

The cost of domestic adoptions varies according to state, but generally they include an application fee, attorney fees, psychiatric and physical examinations for parents, and supervision after the adoption. These and any other costs or fees as per your state range in cost from $5000 to $40,000.

* International adoptions

Almost always closed, international adoptions are comparable in cost to domestic adoptions, averaging between $7000 and $30,000. This does not include travel, however. Overall, international adoptions are faster, but obtaining details about the child such as his medical history can be almost impossible.

* Adopting through the foster system

By far the least expensive way to adopt (averaging between $0-$2500), adopting through the foster system is a viable means of adopting a child. However, adoptive parents have less choice in the age, race, gender, and other particulars regarding the child they want to adopt.

Understanding how the process works and the variables involved go a long way in facilitating the adoption process.

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