While some agencies have a different homestudy process for foster parents and adoptive parents, others have dual licensing, and will allow families to complete one homestudy approving them for both foster care and adoption, at no cost to the family. Post-placement supervision can be provided by the same agency that supervises the foster care, and may also be free.
Many shelters have adoption counselors on staff who can help match you with the right cat. If no counselors are available, you can still talk to shelter staff and volunteers who have spent time with each cat and gotten to know their personalities. If you're on your own, it can be difficult to gauge a cat's true personality when meeting her for the first time in a shelter environment, as this can be a stressful situation for the cat and she may adjust her behavior accordingly.
2. You may not be able to breastfeed. Some adoptive mothers have been able to breastfeed their infants, by stimulating their breasts to produce milk. (Some take hormones, such as prolactin and oxytocin; others use more natural methods.) Not every adoptive mom will be able to do this, however. And even those who do breastfeed will still need to supplement their baby's diet with formula, since they won't be able to produce enough milk to meet their infant's nutritional needs. If you think you'll want to breastfeed, learn as much as you can before your baby arrives. Contact a lactation consultant at a local hospital or a representative from La Leche League (www.lalecheleague.org), or read a book on the topic, such as Breastfeeding the Adopted Baby by Debra Stewart Peterson.
Home studies take three-six months to complete and run roughly $1,000-$3,000. This cost goes up if the home study is international, since more paperwork is involved to comply with international regulations; it shrinks to $300-500 if the child is being adopted from foster care. (This is because the social worker conducting the home study is being paid by a public agency in foster care cases, as opposed to a private agency or directly by the pre-adoptive parents.) Sometimes, if the social worker determines in the process of the home study that the prospective parents require additional training (courses aimed at handling adoption from a sensitive and informed place with your new family), that can cost another several hundred dollars.