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Common adoption mistakes to avoid

The decision to adopt a child is thrilling, somewhat frightening and sometimes fraught with questions about how best to proceed. There is no right way to go about it, and though there will be obstacles to surmount, a successful outcome to the effort will be a wonderful, life-changing event for everyone concerned. Adoption is not something that happens overnight; it requires patience and determination, and as you begin the process, you will want to be as diligent as possible. Here are five critical mistakes to avoid.

1. Not addressing your reader

You will have to complete an adoption profile, and while it should be autobiographical in content, it will be your marketing tool. Remember that your goal is to attract prospective birth parents, especially the birth mother. Your profile is the first impression anyone will have of you, so you should think carefully about the information you want to include or leave out. Be yourself, be authentic and remember who your audience is.

2. Sounding perfect

No one is perfect, and trying to sound as though you are is sure to make your profile read like a fairy tale. Again, you need to be authentic. You will obviously want to cast yourself in a positive light, but do not overdo it. Remember that birth parents are not expecting perfection; they want to know that as prospective parents you are responsible, caring adults who will provide a loving home to an adopted child.

3. Writing from only one perspective

Birth parents want to know about both of the people who may adopt their baby. Therefore, the profile you prepare should not be written by one person or from one viewpoint. Write it together, and use the "we" pronoun throughout or take turns writing. Do not simply list things you would like to do for the adopted child; go deeper. Explain why you enjoy certain hobbies or why you would take a child to certain places, such a museum or lake where you could teach the newest member of your family to fish. Make your profile interesting.

4. Being a stickler about age or gender

Some prospective parents do not want a child older than two, or they want a girl, period. The fact is, the process of adoption will likely slow down, given these parameters. There are usually more boys than girls available for adoption, and certainly more children who no longer fall into the infant category. If you confine your search to newborns-and females, at that-the wait for a child could be considerable.

5. Not seeking professional help

Never try to manage the adoption process on your own. An attorney who practices family law knows the best licensed adoption agencies and is experienced with the entire process. The decision to adopt is a serious, hopeful, life-changing matter, but legal expertise is sure to help make it happen.

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