Frequently Asked Questions
I’m interested in international adoption. Where do I start?
The adoption process is an amazing one, but it’s not easy. Our two pronged approach to the adoption process helps families to weather the inevitable storms that come as they wait to meet the child they’ve longed for.
First, educate yourself. Read, read, read. Learn all you can about the country you’re interested in, what the adoption process looks like, and what to expect when you arrive home with your new son or daughter. Read family adoption blogs and talk to others who have adopted. We recommend the following indispensable resources as you work to gain the knowledge about adoption and the process.
Second, prepare. We all desire that children who are waiting for adoption would wait the shortest time possible. To do this, families must be prepared. Begin your home study process and compile your dossier, before you ever lay eyes on the picture of the child who will be your son or daughter. Agape Adoptions is happy to help you with both of these important tasks. Your preparation shortens the time your adopted child must wait for you. It’s good stewardship of your time, and an act of generous parenting, even before you’ve met.
Check out these sites for important information relating to home study and dossier preparation:
How much does adoption cost? How do I fund my adoption?
Adoption costs vary from country to country. For an overview of country-specific adoption costs, click here to see our Fees and Programs worksheet.
Many families apply for grants or fundraise to cover the costs of adoption. We highly recommend Resources for Adoption, the most extensive online resource guide available for fundraising and grant information. In addition, The Sparrow Fund provides grants to families to pay for comprehensive pre-adoption support (medical reviews, pre-adoption counsel, in-country, support, post adoption support). For tax-related questions, visit the IRS here to learn more about the Adoption Tax Credit.
Bills Tax Service, Adoption Tax Services
We are a locally owned an operated professional tax accounting business owned by Alan and Jaime Newcomb. We specialize in professional tax preparation, planning and representation, accounting services, and payroll services.
Our firm offers both individual, all business, gift, trust, estate and non-profit tax returns and all accounting and payroll services.
Our firm provides outstanding service to our clients because of our dedication to the three underlying principles of professionalism, responsiveness and quality.
To learn more about paying for your adoption, click here to read our blog series on adoption costs.
I am interested in adopting a child with special needs. Where can I learn more about the health and medical needs my child might have?
Families preparing to adopt must understand that all children who have lived in institutions may have health or medical needs, whether or not they have a diagnosed special need. Children in institutions are often susceptible to scabies (skin infection), poor hygiene, ear or other infections, parasites, lice, or malnutrition. All of these health and wellness issues are common in institutional living environments and affect a child’s overall development and well-being.
We recommend the following health and wellness resources, whether or not you are adopting a child with diagnosed special needs.
Dr. Jane Aronson of Orphan Doctor provides specific descriptions of common health issues children adopted internationally might face. Her office also offers pre-adoption consultations and evaluations as well as follow up care in the New Jersey area. No Hands But Ours also lists common health diagnoses with descriptions and helpful links for parents learning more about the health needs of their child.
The professionals at the Center for Adoption Medicine conduct pre-adoption phone consultations with families who are interested in adopting a child with medical needs. They also offer follow up care at their Seattle location. This organization, affiliated with the University of Washington Pediatric Care Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital, offers expert advice to help you make the best decisions for your child and your family.
Nancy Thomas’ important book, When Love is not Enough gives adoptive parents wisdom, encouragement and excellent instruction on parenting children with RAD, Reactive Attachment Disorder. Our social workers can provide your family with more resources like these to assist you as you prepare and care for your child.
I’ve been matched with my child, and I want to send him/her a care package. Is that okay?
Many adoptive families are excited to connect with their child through mail or care packages before they are able to meet in person. Unfortunately, gifts that arrive from overseas can often bring with them difficulty and complexity for children living in institutional settings. Because of this, we do not encourage families to send gifts in advance of traveling overseas to bring home their child. Amy Eldridge, Executive Director of Love Without Boundaries, offers a clarifying word on the effects that care packages can have on the children who receive them. We recommend that all families read Ms. Eldridge’s “To Send a Care Package, Or Not?” to gain a fuller understanding of how care packages and other gifts are received in institutions overseas.
After Getting Home
My adopted child is having trouble sleeping at night. Is this normal? What can I do?
Most adoptive families experience sleep issues after coming home. Often, these problems come as a surprise to a family who saw their new son or daughter sleep soundly in their home country. The familiarity of sounds, smells, sights, and time zone can’t be underestimated. For most young children, sleeping in a new place can be scary.
Often parents cannot determine why their child is not going to sleep or cannot stay asleep even though the child is tired. In almost all cases, adoptive child sleep issues do not stem from behavioral problems but are most often the physical manifestations of a child’s inner struggles with grief, loss and trauma. Because of this, achieving regular healthy sleep can take time. It’s development goes hand-in-hand with the emotional and psychological healing that must occur for each child.
Parents who develop and use a plan for healthy sleep find that they are less weary and less overwhelmed. Each child is different, but every child can benefit from an intentional process that cultivates feelings of security while offering tools that can equip the child to relax and get the rest he or she needs. A variety of popular sleep methods exist, but families should be particularly attuned to how these methods might work with a child who has experienced trauma or loss. For example, crying it out, removing daytime naps, and taking away privileges generally don’t produce the same kind of results that positive methods like physical reassurance and reliability can. Though it may take longer than we’d hoped, with patience and sensitivity, healthy sleep can be achieved!
For more information on developing healthy sleep patterns, read:
We’ve been home for two months and my child won’t stop eating! I’m concerned she might be overeating. Should I stop her?
Good nutrition is key to a healthy and happy child, so intuition might tell parents that a highly structured diet or limited snacking must be enforced from the beginning. These techniques, however, don’t reflect the food needs of children coming from institutionalized environments. For most children living in orphanages, meal time is very structured. Usually, only one helping of food is offered. Most children eat every last morsel, but they may never walk away from the table full. In addition, orphanages offer little variety, so children are not exposed to many new tastes, smells or textures.
Because of this highly structured interaction with food, adopted children often do not understand the concept of plenty or of satiation. Often this manifests itself in gobbling food, eating large quantities, snacking, and even sneaking food. These children’s entire life experiences have told them that food is scarce and that it is only available at certain times. In the family environment, they must learn about a variety of new foods, and their brains must learn to interpret the messages their stomachs send when they are full.
Never fear; your child’s “overeating” is her way of learning about food and about abundance. For the adopted child, most food issues are related to control and learned behaviors. Offer a variety of healthy foods, teach her about good nutrition, model healthy attitudes toward food, and let your child’s body learn to respond to the messages it sends her when she’s full.
For more information on healthy eating for adopted children, read:
Adoption Nutrition Beyond Growth Charts, Adoptive Families
"We have experience with multiple agencies and adoption processes. I would like to tell you that Ms. Avery made the adoption of our son Jude the most pleasant process we had experienced."
- Fitzgerald family