Adoption is a long, sometimes frustrating process, but in the end many say it's worth it.
But, how exactly do you get involved with the adoption process? First, you have to choose which kind of adoption you want.
"With a domestic newborn adoption, and an international one, the family would network with another placement agency, who actually works with birth parents here in the U.S. or in a particular country that is open to international adoption," said Leslie Fleming, an adoption consultant with Burlington United Methodist Family Services.
After that, you need to pick an agency or company to adopt through. Many places have foster to adopt programs, and some are private agencies. Other choices are to go straight to state agencies like the Department of Health and Human Resources.
"Go through an agency. I used Youth Advocate Program or my ex is currently going through PResley Ridge, Potomac Center, there's lots of them. They will make your life easier. They deal with DHHR directly, they deal with all the red tape that comes with it," said Mark Lewis, an adoptive parent.
When that's done, you have to go through a home study. The goal of one of those studies is to evaluate the home environment and to help potential adoptive parents prepare for parenting. On average, the study takes two months.
"In-depth interviews. It becomes a narrative of their family life, their background, their medical history, their police history, if there is one," said Fleming.
When that's through, you'll have to wait for placement and the finalization of the adoption. This can sometimes be the longest wait, taking several years. And until the adoption is finalized, anything can happen. But, adoptive parents said it's worth the wait in the end.
"It's hard. It's really hard. When you don't know, it's a day by day thing. There's some people we know, their adoption process was really quick like seven months, they were done and through with theirs. Ours was about a two and a half long year battle," said Jenny Snyder, an adoptive parent.
Both adoption agents and adoptive parents suggest researching adoption and fostering before you get started with the process.