Raising a child is often cited as one of the most challenging responsibilities an adult can assume. Adopting a child may raise the bar one notch further for your parenting skills.
November is National Adoption Month, and this year the focus is on securing adoptive parents for the 129,000 children currently in foster care waiting for a permanent home.
Welcoming the initiative, outgoing president George W. Bush described adopting a child as "a great joy and also a great responsibility."
"Parents are a child’s first teachers, and adoptive families can help children learn character and values, the importance of giving back to their community and country, and the courage to realize their potential," he said.
His administration is working with Congress to help families overcome the financial cost of adoption through initiatives such as the Adoption Incentives Program, Bush said.
It’s widely acknowledged that adoption is not a straightforward process and can be fraught with frustration and difficulty, a fact stressed by the various agencies involved.
Not only is it a potentially lengthy process but it can prove expensive too – up to $40,000 for inter-country applications, although this figure varies widely and can be significantly less in domestic cases.
However, many insist the potential rewards of a successful adoption application can far outweigh the ups and downs of the process.