Becoming a parent through adoption is a miracle that so many hopeful families have prayed for. Ask any adoptive parent about the day he took the new baby home, and he will smile and tell you how wonderful it was. But if you ask her about the process she went through to be able to adopt, she’ll tell you it was a hard road. The adoption process is not for the faint of heart. Here are 5 barriers to adopting a child.

  1. Finances

One of the main things that holds people back from adopting is the price. Domestic infant adoption can cost anywhere between 20 and 50,000 dollars. This is much more expensive than having a biological child. Many people looking into adoption have already spent thousands on fertility treatments. Regardless of who you are, coming up with tens of thousands of dollars to adopt can be a barrier.

  1. The Paperwork

You have to jump through a lot of hoops to even be considered to adopt a child. You have to have a home study and background check, take classes, get references, and a dozen other tasks to be approved to adopt. The approval process can take months and can get confusing.

  1. Probability

It has been said that at any given time, there are roughly thirty home-study approved families waiting for every infant who is placed for adoption in the United States. This means that many people who want to adopt are never chosen by expectant parents, even after they’ve done all the work to be approved to do so.

  1. The Wait

Because there are so many families and so few babies, the wait to be matched with an expectant mother can take months, even years. Waiting that long can be taxing on the emotions of hopeful parents. Ask any adoptive parent and most of them will tell you that the waiting period between being home study approved and taking their baby home was one of the hardest times of their life.

  1. Failed Matches

It is not uncommon for an expectant mother to match with a hopeful adoptive family and then change her mind before or after the birth of her child. As long as she changes her mind before the legal revocation period is over, it is 100% within her right to do so. It is a good thing if a mother is able to parent her child, but it is heartbreaking to the family who had their hopes up.

There’s a reason why they call it the miracle of adoption—it’s not easy. It takes effort, money, luck, and tears to get there. But when you do get there and you meet your baby, it’s all worth it.

Annaleece Merrill is a birth mother to the cutest little girl on earth. She loves being an advocate for open adoption by writing, mentoring, and speaking at adoption panels. She attends Utah State University in Logan, Utah.