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Thinking of adopting a child? Keep these things in mind

Many Florida households include family members who are children. The means by which a child enters a family can vary. Perhaps you have a neighbor who is currently pregnant. A few doors down, you might know another person who welcomed several children into his or her family by marrying the children's parent. Chances are, somewhere in your town, there are also children who came to their families by adoption.

If married spouses are unable to conceive a child for some reason, they might consider adopting one instead. Then again, you might already have several biological children but feel called to reach out and welcome an adopted child into your family as well. Regardless of your exact reasons for wanting to adopt, there are severalĀ things you'll want to keep in mind if you are contemplating doing so.

Children's best interests are the highest priority

It's understandable that you might have very personal or private reasons for wanting to adopt a child. If you submit an application, you will undoubtedly be entering a network of people that includes agency representatives, birth parents, social workers and others. Each person or group has specific responsibilities and duties to carry out in the adoption process.

The central focus for everyone involved, however, should always be the child's best interests. A lot goes into placing a child with adoptive parents, and you, of course, want to make sure the child you are considering for adoption will have as positive an outcome as possible.

Make sure everything is on the up and up

In a perfect world, all adults would protect children's interests at all times. In reality, this is often far from the case. Especially in the adoption process, you'll want to make certain that any agency or group you connect with is legitimate and that the birth parents involved are in full agreement that adoption is the best option in their situation. Sadly, many parents are under duress or coerced into giving their children up for adoption.

Many Florida parents seek legal support to help them protect their rights and, also, to make sure that they cross all t's and dot all i's as they navigate the application process. Laws vary by state, and regulations also differ between domestic and international adoptions. It's good to connect with someone well-versed in such laws before signing any documents.

Adapting to a new lifestyle together

Even if you give birth to a child, it's natural to go through a period of adjustment at home, especially if this is your first parenting experience. Adopting a child is no different in that both you and your adopted son or daughter will need time to adapt and to find a "new normal" in life. Adopted children sometimes feel a sense of loss, which may present itself as rebellious behavior, sadness or frustration.

Depending on how much a particular child knows about his or her birth parents and the events that led to placement with your family, the level of emotional disruption might range from minor to quite severe. Connecting with other adoptive families, local support groups, licensed counselors and other adoption advocates is a helpful way to encourage and support everyone in your household as you bond with the newest member of your family.

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