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Adoption has been a wonderful blessing for our family. After struggling with infertility for two years we looked into adoption. It gave us hope. There finally seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Sixteen months later we were bringing our first adopted child, Andrew, home from the hospital the day after he was born. The first time he was put in our arms was a moment we'll never forget and instantly our dream of a family came true.

Below are some common questions about adoption.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I love an adopted child as much as a biological child?

This is a very real concern for most couples considering adoption, but the moment you lay eyes on your adoptive child and hold him or her for the first time this fear will vanish forever. Immediately a bond thicker and stronger than blood is formed. All your prayers are finally answered, and God has given you a child, and the love you feel for this child and your spouse will be stronger than any love you've ever felt.

If you are the parent of an adopted child will their birth parents be able to take them away?

No. Once an adoption is finalized, a child cannot be taken from you. (Please note: It is very important when adopting a child that you work with a reputable agency that follows all necessary legal steps. It is a complicated process and must be done to the letter of the law to prevent any possibility of future legal problems.) It differs state to state how old a baby must be before birthparents can sign permanent surrender. In Ohio it is 72 hours. In some instances, one birthparent is not able to sign, either because there is no identified birthfather, or they cannot be found. In those instances, there are specific legal steps that need to be taken to terminate their parental rights. The amount of time this takes varies state to state.

How expensive is adoption?

The cost of adoption can vary depending on the agency and whether it is a domestic or international adoption. Some agencies have sliding scale of 10% of your income up to a certain amount and some agencies just charge a flat fee. For domestic adoption fees can range from $5,000 to $20,000 +. Most agencies that we have seen average around $10,000. But that is just our experience. International adoptions are much more expensive starting at $20,000 and going up from there.

To help with the expenses of adoption there is a federal tax credit of over $10,000. Some companies and states will also help with the costs.

When should we start?

It never hurts to gather information early. This way when you are really ready to begin the process you already have a game plan. The decision to adopt is a personal one that both partners need to agree on. This varies widely by couple.

How long does it take to adopt?

There is no easy answer here. It varies by agency and many other factors. Things that can speed up the process in a domestic adoption are a willingness to try open adoptions and an acceptance of a child of any race. From the time we contacted Catholic Social Services to the time of our first placement was approximately 16 months (an open adoption of a bi-racial baby).

How do I choose an agency?

It's a good idea to look around and find an agency that you are comfortable with and can trust. You will be spending a lot of time and money with them. You should also consider the price and average time it takes a couple to adopt. You might also want to know what resources they offer the birth parents. A good agency provides free counseling and follow-up for birth parents. The more counseling they offer the more likely they'll know if the birth parents are going to truly go through with the adoption. This could save you much heartache.

What is a Home Study and why is it necessary?

A typical home study consists of a few interviews and visits to your home. They are nothing to be afraid of. Just be yourself and relax. They aren't expecting your home to be in perfect order. They just need to verify that you have a home and conditions are livable for a child.

What is an open adoption?

Open adoption allows for some level of continued contact with the birth parent(s) after the baby is born. This can vary greatly from simply letters and pictures sent through the agency to personal visits. Our experience with people considering adoption has shown us that this is a great concern to many prospective adoptive parents. We can definitely understand. We felt the same way when we first started! We would encourage anyone who is scared of the idea to prayerfully approach it. Your agency will educate you on the merits of open adoption. This decision is really a selfless one made for the child. For a child to know that they were loved from the very beginning of their conception, that they were not rejected, but rather their birthparents wanted more for them than they could provide. To be able to ask their birthparents questions, we feel will be invaluable to them. It also helps the birthparents to grieve and move on with their life seeing that their child is loved and happy.

In our experience, it is best to take each situation individually and see how comfortable you are with the birth parents. It is amazing how quickly you can click. Take the relationship a step at a time.

We fell in love with our birthparents the moment we met them. We have open relationships with all of them. This may very well happen to you too, though it may be hard to imagine at the time. Birth mothers are incredible, strong women. They truly are models of love. The adoption decision is very counter-cultural. These women, who hardly know us at the time, entrust us with their child to love and care for. In doing that, they answer our most desperate prayer, they have made our dreams come true.

Do you feel threatened as a parent if you have an open adoption?

It is very important to have mutual respect for each other. Our birth parents have always been very respectful of our role as parents. This is very important in open relationships, or it would not be feasible for us.

We can tell you that we have never felt threatened as parents. We are the ones that get up in the middle of the night when they are sick or frightened. We are blessed with the gift of getting baby hugs first thing in the morning and wiping away their tears when they get hurt. We take care of all of their daily needs. We are their parents. Our children know that. Yours will too.