1. Making the Decision to Adopt
Deciding to adopt is the first step that needs to be taken in the adoption process and requires full commitment before moving forward. Prospective families and parents need to carefully consider this decision after gaining proper knowledge about what to expect and how to prepare emotionally for the process as it can be quite long. Many credible websites offer a variety of information to help in coming to the decision to adopt, and there are also other resources such as adoption counselors and local meetings which can try to help alleviate some stress and questions prospective families may have. Also, having a basic understanding of the costs associated with adoption is important in order to prepare for the process.

2. Selecting the Type of Adoption
There are a variety of types of adoptions to choose from. Our foundation offers aid for local and intra-family adoption. Local adoption is adoption within a specific geographical region with either a newborn baby or a child.. This type of adoption is generally best for families who do not wish to travel to another state for a child, are on a tight budget, and who value face-to-face contact from the people they work with. Intra-family adoption is the adoption of a child by a stepparent or other relative and is sometimes referred to as “next of kin” adoption. This process is usually much quicker than a normal adoption process and helps keep the child with their biological relatives. One other important factor to consider moving forward is the level of communication kept with birth parents. Adoption cases can be either “open” or “closed” referring to how much the child knows and level of communication with biological parents.

3. Choosing Adoption Professionals to Aid the Process
Many different types of adoption professionals are involved in the process, however, not all adoption services and professionals provide the same levels of service, the same costs, or the same success rates. Finding an adoption agency (a licensed business regulated by the state that places children in adoptive homes) is the first type of adoption professional to choose. There are many benefits to choosing a local adoption agency compared to a national agency including:

• clients are able to meet face-to-face more often building trust and understanding with all
involved parties.
• the staff and client list for local adoption agencies are usually smaller creating easier and
quicker communication.
• fees are usually less than national agencies.
• prospective families do not have to travel outside of their geographic region which eliminates
extra time and travel costs.
• local agencies are more heavily monitored by the state than national agencies.

Other types of adoption professionals include adoption attorneys, experts in adoption law who represent adoption cases and handle the legal process, and adoption consultants who help to educate prospective parents and families on the adoption process. Each professional will offer different types of costs, education, and guidance during this time so choosing the right ones is an important step.