The desire to give a child the best home possible often leads to some big adventures. International adoptions allow you to add a new member to your family that you might have never met otherwise. With so many children around the world who need a loving home, you can feel good about your decision to arrange for international adoption, but there are some things that you need to know before you initiate the process of finding a child to love.

Understand That Not All Countries Allow Adoptions

You might have your heart set on adopting a child from a specific country, but it might not be open to allowing adoptions. Some wealthier countries prefer to offer children local homes that don’t require such a major transition to a new culture. Others have strict rules about who can adopt internationally, and you could even be asked to foster a child inside the country for a specific period of time. Exploring which countries are open to adoption and that have guidelines you can meet is a great way to start the process.

Expect to Do Some Serious Paperwork

If you’re not a paperwork kind of person, then get ready to learn to love it. You’ll be needing to submit documents to both the child’s country of origin as well as your own. You can expect to experience a home check along with the need to procure documents that prove that you don’t have a criminal history. You might also need to provide proof of your marriage, gather references and even write an essay about your reason for adopting. Although you might feel like you are buried beneath a pile of papers, working with a quality adoption agency can help you wade your way through it all.

Be Prepared to Offer Support for Early Trauma

Children who are being placed for adoption come from a wide range of backgrounds. In some cases, you might not even know what all the child has seen and heard. Many children come to their new homes with trauma that can manifest itself physically or emotionally. Your child may need physical therapy, support for their disabilities, and professional counseling. Helping a child heal from their trauma and learn to cope with their challenges is part of being a good parent, and being prepared now helps you know what to do when the time comes.

Bringing a new child into your home requires lots of careful thought along with serious discussions with your other family members. Once you’ve made your choice, you’ll never look back. Falling in love with your child begins even before you meet them, and entering the adoption process fully ready to be a parent makes it possible to give your future little one a supportive home.