Look out for number one. So the old saying goes. But when it comes to family, such a view has a way of creating problems. If you live in Ohio and have parenting aspirations, it is possible to see them become real, even if nature seems to make it unlikely. It doesn’t happen easily, however.

Whether you are seeking to adopt or pursue alternative methods of starting a family, you need to understand what the law requires and allows. Getting educated can occur in many different ways, but should always include working with an attorney with a clear track record providing help with sensitivity and care.

You do have rights and choosing to develop a family doesn’t mean those rights are shelved. What it does mean is that the rights of everyone involved have to be considered and Ohio law related to adoptions and comparable issues establishes what those rights are and how to protect them. What follows is a brief rundown of the steps recommended for adopting.

Obviously, the first thing to do is learn all you can about the process. If you are considering adopting, be sure you understand it’s a long-term commitment involved. Children don’t come off an assembly line. Behavioral or physical health issues may exist. Are you prepared to deal with them?

Beyond that, you need to:

  • Select an agency or agent. The law states that adoptions can only be arranged through an agency or an attorney. The agency can be public or private. One attorney can’t represent both parent and child. Be prepared for possible fees. Ask how long the process will take.
  • Complete an application. Fill the paperwork out honestly and fully. If you knowingly make a false statement, it could result in criminal charges.
  • Undergo a home study. This is required. The process may differ depending on the agency used. Cost can vary, as well. Some adoption education courses may be required, too. Here, again, transparency is important.

Once the home study is done, you should expect to meet with a caseworker on matching your parenting abilities and needs of available adoptive children. A series of visits will be arranged, followed by placement of a child in your home for at least six months. Only after that can the process of legalizing the adoption occur.

As you can see, adoption is about family, not simply looking out for number one.