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How to Adopt a Child: A Beginner’s Guide

When we decided we were ready to look into adoption, we had no idea where to begin. If you don’t know anyone who has adopted, you probably haven’t had much exposure to the world of adoption, and jumping in feels a lot like jumping into a deep, dark hole.

On the other side of the story, a lot of the people who can help, don’t know how much the rest of the world doesn’t know about adoption. (It took me a couple conversations with representatives and grant fund members, etc. before I realized this.) They’re working very hard to advocate for adoption, and they’re doing wonderful jobs of it, but when you’re involved in anything day after day, it’s natural to lose sight of the starting line.

There’s a gap.

I am by no means an expert in adoption. As I write this, I haven’t even finished my first one.

But I am an expert at navigating the gap. And that’s what this is about.


adoption guide ebook insert


How to Adopt a Child: An Introduction

Because when we started, we paid a very large sum of money to an adoption consultant, and later regretted it. Adoption consultants are awesome and doing good work helping people navigate the sometimes complicated processes involved in adoption. If you’re the kind of person who needs a little extra hand-holding and a little outside motivation (or if you end up with an adoption agency that’s not as helpful as ours has been?), a consultant might be a good idea.

But if I could do it all over again … I wouldn’t.

They were very helpful in getting us started, but once we signed up with an agency, our family coordinator took over and we’ve hardly spoken to the consultant since.

I really just needed some help getting started, and I suspect other people might too, so that’s what we’re going to do here.

If you’re interested in learning more about adoption, or you’re thinking about jumping in, you really just need a basic framework for how it goes, the right set of questions to get you started in the right direction, and a list of resources you can turn to.

We’ll touch on domestic adoption a very little bit as part of Step 1, but as our family didn’t go down those roads, I can only point you in a good direction. The rest will help you get started on an international adoption.

A Beginner’s Guide to Adoption

Table of contents:

Step 1: Domestic, Foster Care, or International

Step 2: Choose a Country to Adopt From

Step 3: Choose an Adoption Agency

Step 4: Adoption Fundraising Tips and Ideas

Step 5: A List of Adoption Grants

I realize that list doesn’t even cover the entire adoption process, but the point here is to bridge the initial gap to get you started. Your adoption agency will hold your hand through the details of the process, and they’ll do a much better job of it than I would. What this list does cover is everything I wish I had known when I got started.

So let’s do this.

I’ve often heard it said that adoption isn’t for the faint of heart. But I wonder if it’s more appropriate to say that adoption is all about the faint of heart. It’s not easy. None of it. But rarely do we get to what is worthy via easy. — Kelly Raudenbush, The Sparrow Fund

Step 1: Domestic, Foster Care, or International →