Starting the Adoption Process: Considerations

There are many things to consider and think about when starting the adoption process. If you can feel good with the answers to these considerations, you are on the right track. The decision to adopt can be very exciting and emotional, so it’s important to make sure it’s right for you.

Starting the Adoption Process: What to Consider

Public or Private Agency

First, when starting the adoption process, you will need to determine if you want to go with a public or private agency? Public child welfare agencies are run by the government. Each county has a department of social services who are responsible for kids who are in the foster system. These children may become eligible for adoption if they are not able to be reunited with their families. Since it is a government run program, the process can slow and there may be a lot of hoops to jump through. However, these adoptions are usually going to cost less that those with a private agency. 

On the other hand, private agencies are usually registered as non-profit organizations. These adoptions are usually more expensive. However, the applicant may have more control over the type of infant or child they adopt. With private agencies, the process can oftentimes be a bit smoother as well. 

Child Type

Another thing to consider when starting the adoption process is what type of child you want to adopt. Start thinking about what about what personalities and characteristics you would be best suited for parenting. Keep in mind that adopting a child is more for the child’s benefit instead of yours. Think about things such as if you would do well parenting a child with mental, physical or emotional challenges? What about a child who has a sibling? Do you have a preference of gender or age? These are all questions you will really need to think hard about and come up with honest answers. 


Some children, especially those who are ages 5 and up, can have a more difficult time trusting and bonding with new adults. You will have to be patient, as it may take the child a while to be unsure about your commitment to them as well as you in general. It may take them a while to show you love back. This is just another thing to consider when starting the adoption process. 

You will also have to be willing to go through many pre and post adoption placement counseling. Are you patient enough to cooperate with all of these parts of the process?


Raising a child requires a lot of resources. This includes financial resources such as money to buy clothes, food, toys, shelter and even saving for college. It also requires an abundance of love, time, energy and involvement. When starting the adoption process, you must ask yourself if you (and your partner, if you have one) are ready to give of these resources?

A strong family or community support is another important resource to have. Will your friends and family be supportive of your new family unit? Does your community have the appropriate resources (good schools, safe environment) for your new family?

Other Major Life Events

Have you had a major life event in the last year? These can include experiencing a death of someone close, separating from or losing a partner, moving far away, or any other big change. If you have had a major life event, wait a little bit, and then re-evaluate. Adoption is a major life event itself, so don’t couple it with another big life event. Let everything settle down before starting the adoption process.