How Hard is it to Adopt a Baby? 6 Reasons Adoption is Difficult

Adopting a child may seem a bit intimidating, not to mention tedious and time-consuming. Some adoptive parents may ask, how hard is it to adopt a baby?

Adopting a baby can be very difficult, as the majority of children available for adoption are older. There are enormous adoption costs, and the wait times are long and difficult. Adoptees deal with knowing they were adopted and may suffer consequences that last a lifetime.

So in answer to your question, yes, adopting a baby or child of any age can be very challenging in many ways.

If you are considering taking the adoption journey, it is important to understand the complexities that are involved and not be naive to the actual realities of what adoption entails.

You may benefit by joining an online support group to get an idea of the experiences of other adoptive parents and the struggles they faced along their journey.

Support groups are also a good place to share your own experiences and to get advice and input from others who have faced similar challenges.

Here we will cover nine reasons why adopting a child can be very hard.

Our goal is not to discourage you from adopting a child but rather by sharing common difficulties, you will be more prepared for these things should they arise.

Mother smiling at her baby

1. Adoptive Parents Need to Be Financially Stable

It is no secret that adopting a child is a very costly endeavor and can easily set a family back large amounts of money.

For the exact costs of adopting a child, you will first want to decide what type of adoption liaison you will be using.

We caution you to be very careful, as there are stories of couples being ripped off by shady adoption liaisons who take advantage of desperate couples wanting to adopt.

Research information on the adoption process and requirements in your state, as well as contact those adoption agencies in your area. This will give you a more precise idea of the actual cost you will be faced with when adopting a child.

Learn ways to explain adoption to your biological child.

2. Costs of Adoption Can Create Family Debt

It is best to try and get as much debt paid off as possible before beginning your adoption journey, and save, save, save.

The more you save for the adoption expenses, the less you will have to borrow. This, of course, means less debt you will have hanging over your head.

It is no secret that raising children is expensive. Can you imagine also trying to juggle a large, monthly loan payment to pay back the cost of your adoption, along with your mortgage or rent, as well as a possible car payment or two?

Adopting through the foster care system is significantly less expensive, not even remotely as costly as a traditional adoption.

This gives you the option of getting to know the child who lives with you before deciding if you wish to adopt them.

We encourage you to research the pros and cons of being a foster parent to know if this option is of interest to you.

Make it easier on yourself by being as financially prepared as possible, and try to avoid putting yourself in financial hardship.

There are wolves in sheep’s clothing just waiting to take advantage of hopeful prospective adoptive parents. Learn about illegal adoption and adoption fraud.

3. Adoption Wait Times Can Be Long

Wait times can vary drastically depending on how one chooses to adopt. For example, international adoptions can take up to a couple of years or more.

Many adoptive parents have to fly back and forth more than once, which also adds to the expense.

There are things you can do that will help you adopt more quickly than had you not been more prepared.

Adoption wait times for adoption agencies within the United States also vary.

An Adoptive Family survey shows that 63% of U.S. adoptions were completed within one year.

This survey also shows that 37% of those surveyed took longer than 12 months for their adoptions to be finalized. Read more about when adoptions are finalized and what takes so long. There are agencies like American Adoptions that complete on average 75% of their U.S. adoptions within one year.

Depending on the age of the adoptive parents, could also add to the adoption wait time. Birth mothers tend to lean towards younger prospective parents wishing to adopt who have an active lifestyle.

International adoption is an option for those wanting to adopt. Become familiar with the pros and cons of international adoption so you can make an educated decision about your adoption plans.

4. Placing a Baby Up for Adoption Can Be Difficult

The birth parents are faced with very difficult decisions when they are first contemplating giving their baby up for adoption.

A birth mother carries her child for nine months, surely becoming attached to the baby growing inside of her.

The decision to give one’s baby up for adoption can be a rollercoaster ride, to say the least. One minute, the birth mother might be feeling that she will not let anything stop her from raising her baby.

The next minute, she may be thinking that she cannot provide her baby with what her baby deserves.

Loving a child so much that a birth mother is willing to give the baby to someone else is one of the most selfless acts a mother can ever do for her child.

Birth parents must learn to adjust to life after the birth of the baby knowing they allowed someone else to raise their baby. On one hand, they have a warm feeling knowing they did what was best for their baby.

On the other hand, that does not erase the deep pain of knowing that a child the birth mother carried for 9 months and could have kept is now gone.

As a side note, I researched the possibility of an adoptive parent being able to nurse an adopted baby. You might be surprised at what learned, so go check it out.

There are no take-backs after giving your baby up for adoption.

Many birth parents, especially birth mothers, find that they never get over the pain of giving their child up for adoption. Especially if the birth mother was young and felt pressured to do so.

What does my baby look like today, they may ask themselves? If I had kept my baby, where would we be today? Will my child I put up for adoption resent me when they find out they are adopted?

And then there is the thought in the back of the head as years pass whether or not the child will ever try to find their birth parents. Those thoughts have got to be overwhelming, too.

Time goes by, but the birth parents will never be able to forget they put their child up for adoption. Even though it may have been in the best interest of the child, that maternal instinct and love never go away.

Due to the pain and difficulties, birth parents can suffer, many seek counseling to help them get in touch with their feelings. Others may find solace in joining either in-person or online support groups for birth parents who put their children up for adoption.

Ever wonder if an adoption birth certificate looks different than a traditional birth certificate?

5. Birth Parents Live With Adoption Stigma

Not only do birth parents have to live with the pain of not being with their child they put up for adoption, but they also have to live with the stigma of what others think.

You may find it interesting to read the stories of those affected firsthand by adoption. Giving Up a Baby for Adoption has a Lifetime Impact, an article courtesy of The Irish Times is a powerful example of what people go through after adoption.

Some family members may look down on the birth mother or judge her for putting her baby up for adoption.

Can you imagine being the mother of a daughter who is pregnant, and then learning she is going to put her baby up for adoption?

Your grandchild will be given up to another family, and you will not be provided the opportunity to get to know your grandchild. Other family members may judge the birth mother as well.

Regardless of whether the birth mother is making the best decision for her unborn baby or not, the stigmas are still there. Others may place judgment assuming the birth mother does not love her baby.

Some may think that the birth parents are selfish and care more about themselves and do not want to take the time necessary to raise a child.

Others may conclude that if you put your baby up for adoption, then you are a bad, heartless person.

People can be cruel, and ignorance is a very sad thing. Most birth parents do not simply find it easy to put their babies up for adoption as if their unborn baby is an inconvenience.

The stigmas birth mothers suffer are unfair and unfortunate. Many will require counseling and support for years to come.

6. Adoptees Live With Knowing They Were Adopted

Imagine that you are a child and you are told you are adopted. I do not know about you, but one of the first thoughts that would pop into my head as a child would be, did my birth mother just not want me?

As the adoptee matures, they may rationalize that their birth parents did the best they could and only thought of what was in the best interest of their child.

Yet at the same time, they will always have a secret ache to know more about their birth parents.

What do my birth mom and dad look like? Do I have any sisters and brothers? How might I find my birth parents? Will I hurt my adoptive parent’s feelings if they know I am looking for my birth parents?

So many questions naturally run through an adoptee’s head when they learn they were adopted.

There are stories of adoptees who were lied to and told their birth parents were dead. Some begin to realize they may be adopted, even when the adoptive parents insist they were not. There are more stories like this at MentalHealth.Net.

Adoptees can go through feelings of abandonment and rejection by their birth parents. This in turn puts them in a state of loss and grief.

These feelings can arise when they are told they are adopted, or they can arise down the road.

And then there is the concern each adoptee faces of not knowing their family medical history. We all need to know our family history to know if we are genetically prone to any potential diseases that run in the family.

There is nothing easy about adopting a child. There can be pain and heartache felt by many. The sacrifices birth parents make are real and felt for a lifetime.

The wait times to adopt a child can feel like an eternity, and the psychological issues faced by adoptees can be complicated and long-lasting.

How Hard Is It to Adopt a Baby From Foster Care?

Most babies who are placed in the foster care system are there temporarily and are typically reunited with their biological parents. While it is occasionally feasible to adopt a child from foster care, there aren’t many babies available for adoption through foster care.

Although not impossible, it is very hard to adopt a baby from foster care.

Why Is It So Hard to Adopt a Baby From Foster Care?

Reunification with biological family is virtually always the objective for children who enter foster care. Their parents are given as many chances as the judge sees fit to improve their home circumstances in order to reclaim custody of their child. 

The desire to adopt a baby from foster care is great. Those who are placed in foster care, on the other hand, are frequently reunited with their birth parents very quickly.

They may be placed with hopeful families that are interested in fostering to adopting a child, although virtually all of these placements will be temporary.

A child becomes available for adoption only when the parent’s legal rights to their child are permanently severed. Biological parents are frequently allowed a year or more to finish their reunion plans, and the majority of them are successful.

As a result, baby adoption through foster care is uncommon since by the time their parents’ rights are terminated, the children have either been reunited with their biological parents or have reached adulthood.

When a parent’s rights are removed, the objective shifts to permanent placement.

The baby’s existing foster parents or any other biological relatives who are willing and able to parent the child are given first consideration for placement.

It’s uncommon for a newborn to not find a permanent home at that time.

That is why, unlike older children who may have to wait years for permanent placement, there are rarely foster newborns available for adoption.

How Hard Is It to Adopt a Baby From Another Country?

You may be considering adopting a baby from another country and wondering how hard that might be.

Let’s take a look at a few aspects of adopting a baby from another country to give you better insight as to what you can expect.

How Do I Adopt a Child From Another Country?

To adopt a child from another country and bring that child to reside in the United States, you must first be declared eligible to adopt under federal and state law in the United States as well as the law of the nation from which you seek to adopt.

To adopt from another nation in the United States, you must be a citizen of the United States who is 25
years old or older. At least one spouse must be a citizen of the United States if you are married.

Prospective adoptive parents are required to follow the laws of their state, the laws of the child’s country of origin, the policies and regulations of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and, when applicable, the Hague Regulations in intercountry adoption. 

How Long Does It Take to Adopt a Child From Another Country?

Adopting a child from another country typically takes between 1 to 5 years for the process to complete. The international adoption process varies based on the country, service provider, and individual child involved.

What Ages of Children Are Available to Adopt From Another Country?

Infants less than 6 months to a year old may not be accessible for intercountry adoption in certain countries. In addition, several countries have laws forbidding siblings from being separated.

Depending on the country, children in need of adoptive families range in age from 6 months to 16 years.

Before deciding to continue with intercountry adoption, the Convention and legislation in certain countries require that reasonable consideration be made to placing an infant or toddler with a family in that country if suitable and in the child’s best interest.

Trina Greenfield - Adoption Author

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she is able to provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.