Thinking about adoption? Before you go any further make sure you’ve asked yourself the right questions, are in the right stage of your life and, most importantly, are prepared. Here are the 5 things you need to know before you bring a new child into your life.

1. Are You Eligible to Adopt? – The easy answer is yes! In Washington State, if you are over 18 years old, you can adopt. Whether you are single, married or happily cohabitating you can apply. Your race, sexual orientation, or religion will not prevent you from adopting a child. Neither will your socioeconomic status. The only qualification is that you are able to care for the child you adopt.

2. Who Do You Want to Adopt? – This is going to require some soul searching. Do you want someone who looks like you? Do you want someone who looks like your partner if you have one? Or would you warmly welcome some diversity into your growing family? How wonderful that there is no wrong answer. But what you decide is your starting point. And then dig a little deeper and ask yourselves whether you would prefer a newborn, a toddler, or perhaps an older child. Give this some thoughtful contemplation.

3. Domestic vs. International Adoption – Spend some time considering these options. Do you want to adopt a child within the United States or would you prefer to get one from a foreign country? Perhaps there is a country you feel a bond with? Or a country that has a high population of orphans you would like to help? Maybe finding a child within the U.S. is simply the more practical option because international adoption does require time for travel.

4. Cost – International adoption can cost a great deal more than domestic. Many factors can add to the overall cost. Going through a private agency, the state, or adopting your step-child all have different costs associated with them.

5. Foster Care – The least costly avenue is foster care. In Washington state the process begins with becoming a foster parent after training, an orientation and getting a license. There are no fees for becoming a foster parent. As for adopting a foster child the fees are much, much lower (as little as $3,000 in many cases) depending on whether you go through a private agency or through the state. You may also be eligible for partial reimbursement through the Washington State Adoption Support Program.

Let us help you with your adoption. We at Pacific Northwest Family Law have a team of experienced family law attorneys that are available to answer your questions. Give us a call today at 360-926-9112.