I'm sure many of you have researched various means of adopting. International adoptions, private adoptions, adoptions through religious organizations, etc. all hold possibilities for success. I understand some of the alternatives are expensive and that a cost of $20,000 to $30,000 per child isn't unusual. The way I ended up adopting, cost the family virtually nothing, and on top of that, they are great kids. I realize that this method isn't for everyone. That's why I put the question mark after, "The best way to adopt?". I've done a pro & con chart after my adoption outline so that you have an idea of the pitfalls and benefits of this procedure. I must point out that this procedure isn't unique and that I personally know several families who have successfully adopted kids using the same procedure as I did.
DISCLAIMER- Before you read further, please understand that the opinions, ideas, procedures, etc. expressed on this page come from my own personal experience. I do not claim to be an expert about anything and I am not a professional in this field. This information is being provided because it has worked for me and my family, and I am hoping it will work well for other families and the children of this country who are in need of good homes. If you decide to follow my procedure, it is entirely your decision and dad-of-8 isn't responsible, or liable, in any way, for your success or failure.
STEP 1 - Research what agencies, public or private, in your locality are responsible for foster care. My family became foster parents for the Department of Social Services in the county we lived in.
STEP 2 - After you decide on the agency, find out their policy concerning adopting a child who becomes adoptable while in your care as a foster child. In the state I live in, the law dictates that after a child has lived with a foster family for over a year and that child becomes adoptable, that family has preference for adopting that child. There are many similar laws in other states. It is important that you find out and understand what your rights are.
STEP 3 - Become a foster parent. For my wife and I, it turned out to be the best thing we have done.
STEP 4 - As a foster parent work with your social worker or the intake worker of the agency to outline the type of foster child you are willing to have in your home. Most agencies will allow you to be very specific. For example, if you are willing to only care for children who are under the age of 5, make sure they are aware of that. If you are only willing to care for children who have a strong possibility of being freed for adoption ( sometimes referred to as "legally at risk" children ) make sure they realize that too. Just a word of caution, none of the children I adopted were thought to be adoptable at the time of placement with my family so you might miss out on some opportunities if you are too restrictive. Most agencies try to place children with foster parents who are of the same race and even religion, but if race and/or religion is not a concern for your family, make sure they know that too as that might open up more opportunities.
STEP 5 - Here's where faith and luck come into play. But unless you try it, you will never know if this method will work for you. There are many children out there that will require care away from their biological families for all sorts of reasons. If you make yourself available to give that care by being a foster parent, the odds are that some of the children who are placed in your home will become adoptable. It worked for my family. The amazing part is that when we first became foster parents, adoption wasn't even a thought. We just wanted to help kids who needed a temporary home. After seven adoptions I am still amazed how fortunate we have been. Now for some PRO's and CON's: