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Christian Parenting and Family Resources

An Adoption Resource Guide

  • FamilyLife
  • 2001 9 Sep
  • COMMENTS
An Adoption Resource Guide
Far too many children are discarded, abused, and neglected in our country and all around the globe. The good news is that more and more people are seriously considering adoption. But this is a life-altering decision that must not be made lightly. If you are struggling with the decision about whether or not to adopt, then this guide will provide help in making that decision. If you have a desire to adopt but don't know where to begin, you will find help in launching the process. If you already have children placed in your home, you will still find many of the Web links provided to be invaluable.

God, Our Father, Established the Model

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will ... " Ephesians 1:4-5, NASB

The Adoption Process.1

Every adoption experience is as unique as the families, children, and service personnel involved. However, there are certain steps common to every domestic adoption as listed by the North American Council on Adoptable Children. Steps for international adoptions will vary by country, although the steps will be similar to those for domestic adoptions.

Be sure to cover the entire process in prayer!

1. Educate yourself about adoption.
2. Determine what type of adoption you want to pursue.
3. Investigate ways to cover adoption expenses.
4. Select an adoption agency (public local agency, private local or international agency, independent attorney-assisted).
5. Let your agency know that you are serious about adopting.
6. Complete an adoption application.
7. Begin the home study process.
8. Attend adoption and parenting classes.
9. Begin searching for a child.
10. Select a child.
11. Prepare for your child's arrival.
12. Have the child placed in your home.
13. File a petition to adopt.
14. Finalize the adoption.

Key Points to Pray About and Discuss

Many on the FamilyLife team have either adopted or become foster parents. We believe that Christian couples would do well to prayerfully consider adoption or foster parenting. What better way to take a pro-life stance?

This is not, however, a decision to be made lightly. Choosing whether or not to adopt (or foster parent) is a key life decision, so you must seek God's specific direction as a couple. Prayerfully consider and honestly discuss the following topics (most of these topics also apply to singles considering adoption):

* Why do we want children? Or more children?
* What will our legacy be? What is the best way for us to impact the next generation?
* Is God leading us to remain childless or move toward an "empty nest" in order to focus our energies and time elsewhere?
* How would we each rate our desire to adopt on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being a very strong desire)? Why?
* In what ways will this decision positively and negatively affect my spouse and current children?
* How would we each rate our family's readiness, on a scale from 1 to 5, to cope with struggles and adjustments in adoption (5 being very ready)? Why?
* What physical, mental, and emotional issues or developmental delays are we truly not able to handle?
* Are we thoroughly committed, with a sure calling from God, so we will hang in there when life gets tough?

Other areas to pray about and discuss:

* Adoption, foster parenting, or a combination
* Local or international adoption (which country?)
* Obtaining information and support resources
* Timing and approach
* Locating a reputable and reliable agency or attorney
* Sources of funding
* Age range, gender preferences, and sibling groups
* Level of openness and involvement with birth parents
* Appropriate and realistic expectations
* Patience throughout the long, slow process

Contact Information for Helpful Adoption Organizations

National Adoption Information Clearinghouse: www.calib.com/naic
Congress established the NAIC. The NAIC publishes and distributes fact sheets, directories, literature searches, resource lists, and bibliographies tailored to various needs. An introductory packet is available.

North American Council on Adoptable Children: www.nacac.org
Founded in 1974 by adoptive parents, the NACAC is committed to meeting the needs of waiting children and adoptive families. Children, even those labeled unadoptable or hard to place, all need loving families.

Adopt: Assistance Information Support: www.adopting.org
Adopting.org contains information on how to begin the adoption process. Selecting an agency, determining child types, handling legal procedures, and completing applications are addressed.

Office of Children's Issues: www.travel.state.gov/adopt.html
This office coordinates policy and provides general information on international adoption to the public. Specific adoption information is made available for more than 80 countries.

Adoption: www.adoption.com
This Web site has combined a wealth of quality resources and adoption information into one central location.

RainbowKids.com: www.rainbowkids.com
RK is a helpful on-line international adoption publication, updated monthly. This Web site contains articles as well as links.

Bethany Christian Services: www.bethany.org
Bethany is a nationwide organization that has placed more than 14,500 infants, young children, and older special needs children into Christian adoptive homes.

Holt International Children's Services: www.holtinternational.org
Holt is a non-profit organization licensed to work in all 50 states through a network of local direct service agencies in the field of international adoption and permanency planning for children.

Dillon International: www.dillonadopt.com
Dillon is a licensed, non-profit intercountry adoption agency. The agency has led in establishing professional standards for international adoption. Over 4,200 children have been placed with adoptive families in the U.S. alone.

Orphans Overseas: www.orphansoverseas.com
OO is a licensed, non-profit children's adoption and relief agency seeking to honor Christ by promoting the welfare of orphans domestically and internationally.

Christian World Adoption: www.cwa.org
CWA is a non-profit international adoption agency. In conjunction with local social workers and agencies, CWA places children in families throughout the Untied States and abroad.

All God's Children International: www.allgodschildren.org
AGCI is a licensed international Christian non-profit adoption and relief agency. Started in 1991, it has served hundreds of families, uniting loving parents with orphaned and abandoned children.

Adoption Council of Canada: www.adoption.ca
The ACC is the umbrella organization for adoption in Canada. This organization raises public awareness of adoption, promotes placement of waiting children, and stresses the importance of post-adoption services.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada: www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigr/adopt_e.html
CIC produces a booklet designed to serve as a guide for the process of international adoption. This booklet also includes information on basic steps and required procedures regarding the entry of adoptive children into Canada.

International Adoption for Canadians: www.interlog.com/~ladybug/home.htm
This Web site was created to assist Canadians with international adoption. Agency names are provided along with other general information, resources, and links.

Recommended Reading

Adoption:
Jayne E. Schooler, The Whole Life Adoption Book (Colorado Springs, Colo.: Pinon Press, 1993).
Jorie Kincaid, Adopting for Good (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1997).
Sherrie Eldridge, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew (New York: Dell Publishing, 1999).

Infertility:
Debra Bridwell, The Ache for a Child (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1994).
Sandra Glahn and William Cutrer, M.D., When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997).

Footnotes:
1 North American Council on Adoptable Children. (2001). Adapted from How to Adopt. Retrieved April 23, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.nacac.org.

The article above was excerpted from An Adoption Resource Guide (c) 2001 FamilyLife. Written and compiled by Ben Colter and Kevin Bailey. Permission to copy this article is granted provided this copyright statement is included.

Should you need to order printed copies of An Adoption Resource Guide, containing the same content as this article plus addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses for the organizations listed, order at http://www.familylife.com/1-800-358-6329/detail.asp?id=6652.