W elcoming a new member to your family through adoption can be a joyful experience, but the process can be intimidating.
From where to start, the cost, and how will that child fit into your life.
Pronews 7 is breaking down the facts versus the myths and why now, more than ever, children right here in the Panhandle need your help.
A child can fully enrich the lives of a family, and for many, that brings up the option to adopt.
In fact, more than 100,000 children are adopted every year. In Potter and Randall Counties, 357 children are in foster care and looking for that forever home.
But, how do you begin the process?
"Do your research , get knowledgeable about children in general because really that's what we're dealing with," said Keith Howard, Executive Director of Arrow Child and Family Ministries.
There's several adoption agencies in Amarillo. Most recently, Arrow Child and Family Ministries which also serves as an emergency shelter for children taken from their home.
That brings up something parents need to think about. Will you adopt a baby, or a child in foster care?
"People forget that these kids even exist because they're out of sight, out of mind. There's such a stigma around foster children that's why I'm so clear to say they're just children in foster care , " said Howard.
One myth is that adoption is expensive.
"One of the myths when you look at adoption specifically kids out of foster care is that it's a really expensive procedure . I think that's often times tied to the fact that private birth mom adoptions are a little bit more costly, and international adoptions are a little bit more costly. On the foster care side, you're really just looking at the lawyer expenses to complete that adoption locally that's between 1200 to 1500," said Howard.
Luckily, parents can be reimbursed those costs through adoption assistance programs and tax deductions.
Another myth, it takes years to complete the process.
"The matching process is the hard est part, waiting to be matched with the right kid and just going through the process to see who's available , putting your home study in. Those are all things the agency will help you with during that process. Some families are picked in two months some families it takes 12 months," said Howard.
If you do decide to adopt, the child and family undergo therapy, making for an easier transition.
A doting process, but a worthy one when you hear that child call you mom or dad.
Howard also says adoption agencies are there to help you through the process and make for an easier transition.