Making the decision to adopt is by far one of the most amazing, nerve-wracking, and serious decisions of your life. There is a lot of information to take in and many things to consider when you’re hoping to adopt.
Here are five things to consider when you’re hoping to adopt.
1) Do you wish to adopt a child from your own community, state, or nation? Or, do you desire to internationally adopt? Regardless of your answer, it is important to educate yourself on this aspect of adopting and if adopting from another country or within your own community is right for you.
2) Have you considered foster parenting and foster-to-adopt? Many families find that foster parenting leads to adoption. There is a whole different process for foster care. Speak to local child welfare professionals and other foster/adoptive families. Research the statistics in your home state. Learn as much as you can about trauma, child abuse, and neglect. Adopting children and youth from foster care is wonderful, but there is a lot to learn.
3) Are you considering going through an adoption agency or an attorney? There are attorneys who specialize in domestic adoption. Families who go through attorneys are responsible for connecting with someone to write their home study, but you can do this through an independent social worker who works with the attorney to make sure all documents are completed. Going through an agency that specializes in adoption is of great value, though. These agencies work with the biological mothers and fathers to provide counsel and support. They also work on matching an adoptive family with a biological parent who is making the decision to place for adoption. Either way you go, just make sure to work with people who understand the legalities and other issues of adoption.
4) Do you have a support system that will stick by you after adoption? This is super important. Many people are thrilled to actively support a family while they are pursuing adoption but after the adoption is finalized, the adoptive family still needs support. Learn about the various adoption support services available as well as support groups.
5) This one may be tough to answer but it is important to ask yourself, “Am I moving past finding a child for my family to offering my family for a child?” The difference is subtle but important. In adoption, there are no perfect matches or children. If you are seeking to adopt to solely fulfill your own needs, then it might be best to wait a bit. Adoption is hard–plain and simple. Yes, you are fulfilling your desire to adopt a child, but it must also be about the needs of the children. It should always be about them.
Adoption is awesome. It really is. It is also hard, emotional, and sometimes complicated. Prospective adoptive parents need to keep an open mind and study their own hearts when making the decision to adopt. After all, adoption is a lifetime commitment.
Written by Caroline Bailey