The scriptures teach us that God loves little children. The Savior taught His disciples “it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:14). Heavenly Father loves all of His children and shows mercy to each one regardless of their circumstances (Exodus 20:6). He “is rich in mercy” and will support them in their trials, troubles, and afflictions (see Ephesians 2:4 and Alma 36:3). Each individual child experiences a unique circumstance when placed for adoption. In deciding to adopt, remember that Heavenly Father loves you and your child and He will never abandon you (1 Chronicles 28:20). He loves this child and desires to help you as you plan for this child’s future.
If you and your spouse want to adopt a child, be sure you know all legal requirements of the countries and governmental agencies that are involved. You may wish to consult with an adoption agency or adoption attorney. If you live in the United States, your bishop can refer you to LDS Family Services as a consultation resource.
President Henry B. Eyring reminds every parent that their “most important and powerful assignments are in the family. They are important because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child’s life to put feet firmly on the path home” (“Help Them on Their Way Home,” Apr. 2010 general conference).
We want to adopt, so where do we begin?
There are many different motivations for why people desire to adopt a child, and that motivation can play a very important role in the dynamics of the adoption experience. One word of counsel, however, holds true regardless of the motivation: adoption should always bless the life of the child. This counsel includes strict observance to the legal adoption requirements of your country and local government. Intercountry adoptions are even more regulated than adoptions that occur within the country. Working through licensed, authorized providers of adoption services (adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, and so on) is strongly encouraged. Please refer to Handbook 2: Administering the Church, 21.1.4.
Adopting a child will be one of the most important decisions you make during your lifetime, as well as possibly being the single biggest decision in the life of the child. Study it out in your minds, then seek a confirmation of the Spirit through fasting and prayer (see D&C 9:7–8). With all your hearts, counsel with the Lord (see Alma 37:35–37).
To prepare yourselves, seek out answers to the many questions that surround adoption, such as:
- How will adoption affect our marital relationship?
- What do we need to learn to become successful adoptive parents?
- What are the rewards and challenges associated with adopting a child?
Where can we learn more about adoption?
Contact an adoption professional (adoption agency, adoption attorney, licensed adoption provider) to see what the requirements are to become an adoptive parent. If LDS Family Services is available in your area, you may contact them for a referral. In the United States, there are also government resources available, such as the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
Adoption is highly regulated and requirements vary. You need to understand the requirements for your area and conform to them.
Once you’ve prepared yourself intellectually and emotionally, and met all of the requirements necessary to qualify to adopt a child, you may begin the process of finding a child to adopt.
How do we find a child to adopt?
Finding a child to adopt can be challenging. The more specific you are concerning the child’s age, gender, and emotional and physical health, the more challenging the process might be. Become resourceful as you seek for a child who is a good match for your family. Remember to call upon the Lord to assist you in finding the child He wants you to nurture and have sealed to you. Sources of information might include:
- Adoption professionals
- Other adoptive parents
- The internet
- Your public library
What do we do when we find a child to adopt?
You will once again require the assistance of an adoption professional (adoption agency, adoption attorney, licensed adoption provider) to ensure you meet the requirements necessary to finalize your adoption. They will explain the paperwork and legal steps needed to complete the adoption.
Once you have met all the legal requirements and the adoption is finalized through the courts, you can work with your bishop to arrange for the child to be sealed to you.
“May our Heavenly Father ever bless these sweet souls, these special friends of the Master” (Thomas S. Monson, “Precious Children—A Gift from God,” Oct. 1991 general conference).