ADOPTION A CHILD Adopting a child is often a remarkably satisfying solution for a couple who want a family and are unable to have children. However, any husband and wife considering adopting a child should give the matter thorough and mature thought; it is obviously a far more serious question than whether or not to buy a car or fur coat. The decision to adopt a child is only the initial step. After the couple have registered with a state-licensed adoption agency, it may be months or even years before the agency is able to present them with a child to consider for their own. Every legal adoption agency makes an exhaustive examination into the husband's and wife's background, economic situation, religious beliefs, personalities, general home life, physical condition, mental capacity, and other areas. Children up for adoption have received an equally thorough examination. For various reasons, not every couple is eligible to adopt a child, nor every homeless child adoptable. The agency attempts to place the child in a home most mutually congenial to the prospective foster parents and to the child. Prospective foster parents should try not to have rigid ideas regarding the type of child they would like. A couple who have decided, for example, that they want a curly-headed two-year-old girl are only impeding their chance of getting any child. The agency would like to feel that the child is desired for qualities more important than curliness of hair and, more practically speaking, the number of curly-headed two-year-old girls may be limited. Whenever possible, the agency will try to match the child and couple in as many ways as it can. Before legal adoption papers are finally taken out, there is a trial period during which the couple have the child in their home and are able to decide whether or not this is the child they want and the agency decides whether placement is suitable. The child with a positive Wassermann test has a condition which demands a great deal of attention before he is suitable for adoption. The child who has come from a family with tuberculosis may pass through a long period of invalidism before he is healthy. Mental deficiency can be recognized after three or four months of age, but some mental taints do not appear until later in life. Some conception of the amount of mental defect in the ancestry of the child being considered for adoption is desirable. Some hereditary defects can be controlled to a certain extent through environment, but it is far safer to be sure of the heredity of the child and not to take chances. Most people who want to adopt a baby want an extremely young one so that he will not know that the parents are not his own. It is undesirable to adopt a baby during the first few days of his life. At least several months should be given to observation of his physical and mental state before he is taken by the family for rearing. At the present time, the demand for children far exceeds the supply of adoptable children available. Because of this scarcity, there have sprung up all over the country black or gray-market adoption agencies which financially exploit the often very intense desire of a husband and wife to have a child as soon as possible. Anyone who adopts a child through such illegal channels is taking a tremendous risk; since the black-market agencies operate outside legal standards regarding adoptability of a child and may have little or no accurate information about the child, the couple could conceivably get a mentally or physically defective child. Prospective foster parents should always deal with a legal adoption agency whose primary goal is to bring together a couple and a child under the best possible circumstances. A happier and more fortunate outgrowth of the problem of scarcity of adoptable children is the increasing number of foreign-born children who are being adopted. This possibility should be considered by couples desirous of adopting a child.