How many people have said that, or even just thought it, when adoption crosses their minds?
What about Down Syndrome Adoption?
The idea of adoption can be intimidating,
There are just so many unknowns,
And no one likes the feeling of failure or rejection.
I have heard on numerous occations,
"There is no way we would qualify"
but you will not know until you at least try.
And then figuring out the right route and where to start,
It can be quite overwhelming!
Narrow your options
Domestic or International?
The first thing you should do if you are considering international adoption,
Is to make sure you meet the income requirements that are required in order to receive immigration approval for your new additions.
You can look those numbers up HERE
If you qualify great, you can look into internation as well as domestic!
If not, it doesn't necessarily rule out adoption from your future, domestic is still an option
Don't get discouraged!
Foster Adopt, Waiting Child Adoption or Private Adoption
Fostering to Adopt,
Getting licensed with your state to take in foster placements that are likely to end in termination of parental rights. You are able to specify the age range, gender, special needs, etc. There is no cost to you to adopt through foster care.
'But do I quality?'
Every state sets it's own rules, regulations, and guidelines,
So I really cannot answer that for you.
I know that for my state, there is no set income requirement,
That you must be able to show that you have enough money to meet the needs of your family.
I know that in my state you cannot have more than 4 children per bedroom,
And that there needs to be 40sq ft per child in a bedroom,
So if you wanted 4 children in a bedroom, the room must be a minimum of 160sq ft.
Each child must have their own closet or dresser.
You must have one full bathroom for every 8 people in your home.
There is a bunch more little things, like outlets must be covered, chemicals locked up, etc.
But that's the gist of it, for my state,
Yours will likely be different.
You will wait, some for a very brief period of time and others might wait for years.
I know for Down Syndrome specifically,
Our county told us that unless a fluke situation presented itself,
We shouldn't expect a placement for 2+ years.
If one were to open their "criteria" up a bit to state,
Intellectual Disabilities, including but not limited to Down Syndrome,
You'd have a higher likely hood of sooner placement.
Waiting Child Adoption,
You will need to have a homestudy written,
This can be done privately or through the state.
Our private homestudy cost $2,500.
If it is a waiting child in your home state, the state will help license you to adopt at no charge.
I don't know about other states but the social workers that we have talked to would not do a state funded homestudy for a specific out of state child, unless you had already waited 12 months for a placement within your own state.
So for us personally,
If we were choosing to adopt a waiting child with Down Syndrome from out of state (There are none currently listed in our state, which is why I use this example)
We'd be responsible for our homestudy cost,
Which is often reimbursable upon completion of the adoption, through the state.
We'd be responsible for our travel expenses to go meet and visit with the child, as well as transportation home for the child.
This is often reimbursable too.
Criteria to adopt a waiting child will vary greatly,
But somewhat similar to that of Foster Adopt.
You do not need to meet the same exact criteria though,
Meaning if you want to adopt but don't qualify to foster,
It may not be a closed door.
Homestudies seem so intimidating but they really aren't,
A social worker isn't coming out with the desire to crush dreams and prevent adoptions,
They want to help approve you,
If there is room in your heart and in your home,
If your home is safe and not horribly over crowded,
If you are safety/child proofing concious,
If you can afford to add to your family,
If you aren't a criminal,
You really need to stop worrying,
And trust that everything will work out.
Lists children across the US that are just waiting for families to say yes!
Lists children with Down Syndrome within the US that are currently available for adoption.
You're likely more aware of this one.
Private adoptions are through agencies vs the state.
Private adoptions will often cost a lot more,
But there is an aspect of adoption that you will not get through Foster Adopt or Waiting Child Adoption.
With a Private Adoption of a child with Down Syndrome,
You are often chosen by a birth family specifically,
And more often than not, you are chosen before the baby is born.
There is no past trauma that caused the child to be seperated from their birth family,
It was a choice the family made in the best interest of their baby/child.
You will pay for all of your adoption expenses yourself,
Sometimes Birth Mothers expenses as well.
Private adoptions can cost anywhere from $7,500-$35,000.
The National Down Syndrome Adoption Network is a great place to start when considering private or waiting child Down Syndrome Adoption.
If you are wanting to adopt a child with Down Syndrome,
Contact a social worker to get your homestudy completed and then get in touch with NDSAN and send them your homestudy,
They will then add you to their database of waiting families and when a birth family chooses adoption, your homestudy will be among those able to be considered.
You could probably look into any country that is open to international adoption and find hundreds and hundreds of children with Down Syndrome available for adoption.
There is so much flexibility/variance in International Adoption from country to country.
Some require two parent travel,
Some only one has to travel,
Some allow for an escort to bring the child home to the US for you.
Some are open to single parents.
Some allow you to take custody of the child immediately,
While others have you wait until the adoption is finalized.
Some require one trip,
Some require three.
Some require 6 weeks in country,
Others only 5-7 days.
Some allow multiple unrelated children to be adopted together,
Some do not.
Some allow you to preselect a child,
Others will look over your homestudy and dossier and match you with a specific child.
Some are party of the Hague Convention and some are not.
Some are $15,000 and others are upwards of $50,000.
Some take 6-9 months to complete, others can take 2-3 years.
Like I said, huge variance.
I will use the country our children are from as an example of requirements.
-The child is officially on hold for you when you submit your commitment documents
- Allows single women to adopt as well as married couples
-You can adopt multiple unrelated children at the same time
- You will receive pictures and often videos of the child(ren) you are adopting
-You have access to their basic medical records prior to commitment
-Part of the Hague Convention
-Two trips required, first trip is one week and second trip is about 12 days
-Only one parent is required to travel
-An escort can be arranged for trip 2 (At least one parent must travel for trip one)
Many countries allow waivers and will make exceptions to certain rules when adopting a special needs child, so even if you are looking at criteria and something "rules you out" don't be so sure....China for example, is willing to grant waivers on a case by case basis for almost every guideline EXCEPT minimum age requirement that states you must be 30 years old to adopt from China.
You can often adopt older infants and very young toddlers with Down Syndrome through international adoption.
Older children are available as well.
US law allows for the international adoption of children 0-16 into the US,
China's law states that children must be adopted by age 14 before they age out and are then forever unadoptable. But all other countries that I can think of allow adoption through 16+ years of age, it is US Immigration requirements that don't allow a child over 16 to be adopted into the US.
Adoption is expensive!
Why yes, it most definitely can be!
But it doesn't have to be,
There are low cost and no cost ways to adopt,
Namely Foster/Adopt and Waiting Child Adoption.
Beyond that though,
There are grant agencies that no how costly adoption is,
And that many families don't have $35,000 just collecting dust under their mattress,
They want to help!!
There are many many grants available to help cover the cost of international adoption.
There are also ministries and agencies that allow you to set up tax deductible donation accounts so that friends and family can be encouraged to make tax deductable donations!
And guess what,
It is absolutely okay to fundraise,
Not having the ability to write a check for $35,000 does not mean you are not fit to adopt,
So I need to ask,
What is it that is holding YOU back?
Have questions? concerns? doubts?