Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Adoption?

Millions of Americans have considered adopting a child, and small wonder. For many people, adoption is the ideal way -- and possibly the only way -- to make a family grow. If you're thinking about adopting a child, either from the United States or abroad, you need to learn everything you can about the process. Why not take a short quiz to find out how much you already know?

1. You have to be married to adopt a child.

True

False

2. It's almost impossible to adopt an infant.

True

False

3. Adopting older children is a time-consuming, expensive process.

True

False

4. If you want to adopt an infant, you can usually save a lot of money by finding a birth parent on your own.

True

False

5. In the United States, many adoptive parents are already related to the child.

True

False

6. Which of the following automatically disqualifies a person from being able to adopt?

a. Age over 40

b. Disabilities or serious illnesses

c. Family income under $30,000 a year

d. Being single

e. None of the above

7. Most foreign countries have complex bureaucracies that make foreign adoptions next to impossible.

True

False

Answer

1. You have to be married to adopt a child.

The correct answer is: False

If you are a U.S. citizen, it doesn't matter if you're single or part of an unmarried couple; you are eligible to adopt a child. Some foreign countries or adoption agencies require that you be married to adopt a child, but others allow unmarried couples and single women or men to adopt either infants or older children.

2. It's almost impossible to adopt an infant.

The correct answer is: False

Not if you are willing to adopt from another country or consider a child of a different background. Infants are available for adoption from other countries, and the United States also has many mixed-race babies and older children with special needs on waiting lists for adoption. If it's important that your child look like you, there are still many opportunities to adopt such an infant, but you may have a longer waiting period.

3. Adopting older children is a time-consuming, expensive process.

The correct answer is: False

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 119,000 older kids in the United States are waiting to be adopted. These children currently live in foster homes because their natural parents are unwilling or unable to raise them. Some need special care, but many just need a chance. If you're interested in adopting an older child, call your local Department of Social Services or Department of Public Welfare. Like any prospective adoptive parent, you'll have to go through a "home study" -- including a psychological and legal assessment -- of your ability to care for a child. Once you pass muster, it won't take long to complete an adoption. You may have to spend a little for travel or attorney's fees, but the domestic adoption of an older child is often free. In fact, most children receive government stipends to help cover the cost of their care. International adoptions -- of a baby or an older child -- may take a year or longer, depending on which country you choose.

4. If you want to adopt an infant, you can usually save a lot of time and trouble by finding a birth parent on your own.

The correct answer is: False

Both agency adoptions and private adoptions of an infant can surpass $40,000, although some fees are as low as $5,000. But money isn't the only consideration when deciding which path to take. Finding a birth parent on your own, even with the help of a private agency, can be a highly complex procedure. Moreover, finding a birth mother on your own can leave you vulnerable to fraud. If you pursue adoption across state lines, be aware that different states have different laws governing adoption agreements. In many states private placements require permission from the state or a court. If you have never gone through an adoption before, it might be safer to use an agency that has a credible history of working with birth mothers and is licensed and monitored by a state agency. Some attorneys who specialize in adoption are members of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. Whether you use an agency or an attorney, get a clear picture of the costs you may face before you enter into any arrangement with a birth mother.

5. In the United States, many adoptive parents are already related to the child.

The correct answer is: True

In 2000, about half of adopted children were stepchildren or were otherwise related to their adoptive parents. According to the latest government statistics, more than 80 percent of children not living with a parent, live with a grandparent or other relative.

6. Which of the following automatically disqualifies a person from being able to adopt?

The correct answer is: e. None of the above

In years past, some adoptive parents had to fit a certain mold: Married, young, wealthy, and healthy. Today, adoption agencies focus on the one thing that really matters: Can the parents (or parent) provide a stable, caring home? In the long run, that's all a child really needs.

7. Most foreign countries have complex bureaucracies that make foreign adoptions next to impossible.

The correct answer is: False

Bureaucratic tangles do occur, and processing the paperwork and visas can sometimes take up to a year or more. However, most foreign adoptions are successful. In fact, about 13 percent of all children adopted in the U.S. are foreign-born.

References

Interview with Mady Prowler, assistant director of communications for the National Adoption Center

National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. Adoption: Numbers and trends.

National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. Cost of Adopting.

National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. Adoption: Where Do I Start?

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Adoption and Foster Care Reporting and Analysis System. Volume 10. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report10.htm

American Bar Association. Guide to Family Law. www.abanet.org/publiced/practical/books/family/chapter_6.pdf

Child Welfare Information Gateway. Adoption Options: A Factsheet for Families. http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/f_adoptoption.cfm

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