There are many reasons why people decide to bring a child into their family through adoption. Whether you struggle with infertility, don't want to give birth, or just feel blessed with the resources to help a child in need, you will need to make many critical decisions as you begin your adoption journey. Identifying some of these decisions early on will give you the opportunity to put a lot of thought into them so you will be prepared to be decisive when the time to begin the adoption process arrives.

1. Domestic or International Adoption?

One of the first decisions you will need to make as you embark on your adoption journey is whether you want to adopt a child from a foreign country or adopt a child domestically.

Some families may feel a certain cultural or ancestral connection to a specific country. It's possible that you visited a foreign country in the past and fell in love with the people there. If this sounds like you, then an international adoption may sound appealing. Domestic adoptions tend to be more affordable and take less time to complete.

You will need to consider your adoption timeline, financial resources, and the likelihood of being able to successfully bring a child to the United States before you determine whether a domestic or international adoption will work best for your family.

2. Infant or Older Child?

There are children of all ages that need stable and loving homes. Your initial instinct may be to adopt an infant, but you should take the time to consider the benefits you may enjoy when you adopt an older child instead.

The adoption process moves much quicker when you are interested in adopting an older child. If you have other children in your home who are a little older, adopting an older child can help reduce the age gap and ensure your adopted child will be able to assimilate better with your biological children. Adopting an older child can even help reduce childcare costs over time. Many older children are able to retain access to state insurance plans, free college tuition, and monthly care subsidies.

If you feel that you are capable of helping an older child work through any behavioral or emotional problems they may have, then adopting an older child might make sense for your family.

3. Nonprofit or Private Adoption Agency?

No matter what type of adoption you choose to pursue, you will need the help of an adoption agency to complete the process.

Adoption agencies act as the middlemen for each adoption. Birth mothers are screened and cared for by adoption agencies. A consultant will help the birth mother select a new home for her child from the pool of prospective parents who have paid the adoption agency for this matching service.

An adoption agency can be privately owned, which means that the board of directors is free to utilize any profits as they see fit, or an agency can be classified as a nonprofit. Both private and nonprofit adoption agencies can help you find a child to adopt, but you will need to weigh many factors before you decide which type of agency you will partner with.

Couples who are hoping to apply for adoption grants to help cover expenses will want to work with a nonprofit agency. The organizations that provide these grants usually disperse funds directly to an agency on your behalf, and most will only work with nonprofit agencies. If you aren't worried about using grant funds to pay for your adoption, then working with a private agency could help you streamline the adoption process.

Reach out to a local adoption agency, such as Adoption Angels, to learn more.