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Would-be adoptive parents face a difficult time

It's not a good time to be an adoptive parent in the United States.

Increasingly, the odds of an easy adoption are getting slimmer and slimmer -- and this is giving rise to both dashed hopes and adoption fraud.

Part of the problem is that there are more restrictions on international adoption as other countries are closing the doors to would-be parents from the United States (or at least looking a lot more closely at them). In some cases, hopeful parents end up investing thousands of dollars in agencies that promise them a child -- only to face high-pressure tactics to fork over more money in order to buy what amounts to personal advertising campaigns.

Another problem is that it is harder than ever to adopt an infant -- whether it is an infant that is born in the United States or one born overseas. Many parents aren't prepared to wait three or four years (or longer) to adopt a baby. Older children may be available, but adoption agencies are reporting that many of the older children up for adoption have physical or emotional disabilities that make would-be parents think twice about taking on the task.

Even when parents are willing to tackle the job of raising an older child who has been in the foster care system, the bureaucracy can be overwhelming. Experts with the National Council for Adoption say that 60 percent of the adoptive and foster parents they recruit end up quitting within a year. Another 20 percent won't make it through their second year of trying.

One big risk facing would-be adoptive parents is profit-driven companies that push parents into turning themselves into commodities, complete with advertising -- all for a significant cost. Sometimes those agencies end up folding abruptly when they're unable to deliver on their promises, leaving devastated families out thousands of dollars and all the time they've invested. Scam artists are the other danger. Some unscrupulous women will promise newborns to hopeful couples in exchange for cash support or fees and then conveniently change their minds at the last second -- and there is little the hopeful parents can do about it. Some agencies are equally risky.

If you intend to adopt, make sure that you go through an attorney that you trust to handle the adoption process. You could ultimately save yourself both a lot of money and heartbreak.

Source: CBS Boston, "Number Of U.S. Adoptions Drop As Hopeful Families Face ‘Slow, Painful Process’," David Crary, Associated Press, May 01, 2017

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