7 Common Obstacles to Legal Adoption on Long Island
Like the birth of a new child, adoption can seem like a miracle for families, but for different reasons. Unfortunately, there are many barriers to adoption and the road to bringing home a child is long and difficult. As you are considering adoption to grow your family, it’s important to understand the most common obstacles to successful adoption so you can be as proactive as possible to avoid or minimize them. Here’s what you need to know.
#1. Cost of Adoption
One of the most frequently cited reasons why couples who want to adopt choose not to is the cost. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Welfare Information Gateway, domestic adoptions in America cost on average between $20,000 to $40,000. Independent adoptions cost approximately $15,000 to $40,000, while international adoptions can be as high as $50,000. For many families, this cost is simply out of the realm of possibility.
#2. A Change of Heart About Adoption
In New York and many other states in the U.S., the birth mother can change her mind about adoption at any time before the legal revocation period is over. While a mother being able to parent her child is advantageous for the child, the decision can be both financially and emotionally devastating for the intended parents.
#3. The Waiting Period for Adoption
Many families interested in adoption understand that the process takes time, but they’re often unprepared for exactly how much time that really means. The wait for newborn adoptions is the greatest at 2-7 years, according to the National Adoption Foundation. Domestic Caucasian newborns are in the highest demand, so the wait tends to be the longest for those adoptions. Foster care adoptions are generally the quickest way to adopt domestically, with the entire process being completed in just 6-18 months. International adoptions take a few years on average, depending on what country the child will be from. Adoptions from Mexico, DR Congo, and Ukraine are the fastest at 3-6 months, while adopting a child from China takes approximately 4-5 years.
#4. Issues of Multiethnicity
While many adoption advocates promote the breakdown of racial and cultural barriers through mixed-race adoptions, some private agencies still have antiquated reservations about multiracial adoptions. Public agencies, however, and by extension any adoption agency that receives federal funds, are prohibited from discriminating in the same way. The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (MEPA) protects children and adoptive parents by stating that these agencies may not deny the placement of a child due to race or ethnicity, or delay the placement process for these reasons.
#5. The Probability of an Adoption Match
Statistically, the probability of being selected for adoption is low, which is partly why the process takes so long. Approximately 140,000 adoptable babies are born each year in the U.S., and within that same time frame, 2 million families are waiting to adopt. The vast majority of parents waiting to take a child home every year will not be able to.
#6. Involvement of the Putative Father
In some cases, the putative or assumed father becomes involved. This often happens with babies born to unmarried mothers wishing to place their child with an adoptive family. The father may choose to exercise his rights to the child and, after confirming biological relation via a DNA test, may petition for custody of the child. This can be difficult for couples who have been chosen by a birth mother to adopt a child and are later informed that the putative father has decided to become involved.
#7. The Red Tape of Adoption Process
Adoption comes with a great deal of paperwork. There are countless forms and hoops to jump through, including an invasive home study where nearly every aspect of your life will be scrutinized by a social worker to determine how fit your family is to welcome a child into your home. Many couples find the process of being approved to adopt a child so daunting that they stop before they’re ever placed on a waitlist.
Considering Adoption? Contact a Long Island Family Law Attorney Now
If you’re thinking about adoption as a way to expand your family, you need smart, effective legal guidance throughout the process. At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we have extensive experience helping Long Island families achieve their dreams of adopting and can work with you to make going through the stages of adoption as smooth as possible. Contact us now for a free consultation at 631-923-1910.
For more information on Adoption, see our Long Island Adoption Handbook.
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