5: Do I want a child of a certain race or culture? Do I want a special needs child?
Age is a key factor in deciding on what kind of child you would like to adopt, but there are many other factors to consider. Sometimes, prospective adoptive parents are uncomfortable talking about their preferences, but you shouldn't be -- it's all about what will work best for your family.
If you only feel comfortable adopting a child of your own race, be prepared to state that without reservation when you begin working with an agency. Transracial or transcultural adoption can be controversial. Typically, this means the placement of children from another country or a child of color with Caucasian parents. Some feel that they will be unable to prepare their adopted children to deal with racial discrimination, or that these children shouldn't be deprived of their cultural or racial heritage. Others believe that as long as you can provide a loving home to a child, race and cultural differences don't matter. Recent studies have shown that most children in transracial and transcultural adoptions adjust well [source: PBS].
As you might imagine, it can be more difficult to place children with special needs. Not only can be it emotionally and physically demanding, it may also be an additional financial burden to pay for doctor visits, medications, therapy and other necessities. Sometimes, requirements are relaxed if you're interested in adopting a special needs child -- older parents or single parents who would otherwise have a difficult time being matched with a child, for example, can be successful.