For most adoptive parents, the process to grow their family through adoption can be lengthy and difficult. There are many reasons why the adoption process can be so complicated, and many of them are because of the safeguards put in place to protect everyone involved: the adoptive parents, birth parents, and the adoptee. Here are a few of the main reasons why the adoption process can be hard:

The Home Study

The home study is, in essence, designed to protect children. Unfortunately, in the past, there were cases of abuse or neglect of adopted children. The home study is designed to ensure you can provide a safe home for a child. They do not want to scrutinize every nook and cranny of your home, they want to get to know you, have an idea of how you will be like as a parent, and conduct background checks necessary to make sure any child you bring home will be safe.

While it can feel invasive and be time-consuming, the odds of someone failing a home study are very slim. The possible scenarios for you to not be approved is if you have a criminal conviction for child abuse or another serious crime; or if you have a home that is not suitable for children—not because of dust bunnies but because there is no running water or electricity. Also due to dangerous areas of your home such as an unsecured pool or unsecured weapons. Even if your home itself is not initially up to code, more often than not they will give you a chance to correct any violations rather than just flat-out deny you.

The Legal Process

All of the legal steps, while they vary from state to state, are designed to protect expectant parents and allow them time to make an informed decision. It is in the best interest of all involved, including the child. The laws exist to prevent coercion and to ensure that expectant parents receive the correct information about what happens once they terminate their rights. While it can be excruciating to deal with a long revocation period as an adoptive parent, what would be more painful would be to know you have adopted a child from someone who truly wants to parent, but needs help locating resources to make that possible.

The Ratio of Expectant Parents to Adoptive Parents

For domestic infant adoption, there are far more people in this country looking to adopt than there are babies placed every year. With international adoption, the ratio of children placed has slowed as countries have improved their foster care system. With the domestic infant adoption process, it generally entails the expectant mother selecting a family. For example, if there are 30 families waiting with an agency and only 15 birth parents who place with them every year, the odds are you may wait over a year before an expectant mother connects with your profile and matches with you.

Some agencies limit the number of clients they take on per year, and some places accept more than others. When you are choosing an agency or a lawyer, don’t just ask how many placements they did last year, ask how many waiting adoptive families there were.

While the adoption process can be emotionally difficult as well as time-consuming, if you invest in the process and are willing to wait, you will successfully be able to adopt. While it can be difficult not to know when or how the child will come, if you choose competent and ethical professionals it will happen, you may need to have some patience.

Julianna Mendelsohn lives in sunny South Florida where, odds are, it is hot enough right now that she’s sweating just a little, no matter what she’s doing. She is the brains, brawn, blood, sweat, and tears behind The Adoption Mentor and is thrilled to be able to help others build their families through adoption. She is a former elementary school teacher, current MS in school counseling student, Sephora junkie, and the momma via domestic adoption to one lovely daughter.