Adopting a child is life changing–it gives so many people who wish to create a family the gift of having children of their own to love and care for. It’s undeniably one of the most important and rewarding experiences a parent will ever go through. But no matter how prepared you may think you are for the process, most adoptive parents will tell you there were numerous things they wish they had known before beginning the process. With that in mind, we’ve assembled some of the top things to consider before you adopt, take a look:
Have an Honest Personal Assessment
If you’ve asked yourself the question, “should I adopt a child”, you’ve actually taken the first step towards an honest assessment. Many thousands of people who embark on adoption begin by questioning whether they’re ready to adopt and raise a child. This is an important part of taking a good, hard look at your reasons for adoption and being honest with yourself about your expectations and goals. Knowing your limits and being willing to accept them is a great place to start.
Know and Accept Your Limits
Asking yourself a few questions–and being willing to accept your answers, allows you to enter into adoption with a clear understanding of the challenges ahead and to approach the process with open eyes. It’s also important to understand that admitting to yourself that there are certain things you are willing to accept and others that you are not, is perfectly ok.
What Kind of Adoption is Right for You?
Once you’ve honestly assessed your motivations, limits and expectations, you’ll need to think about what kind of adoption is right for you. Some of these answers will come as you assess your expectations–like whether or not you want to adopt a baby or an older child, whether you’re open to a child of another race and whether you’re thinking about adopting within the United States or internationally.
Learn about the different options & decide which adoption path you want to take
Adoption Through the Foster System
The first thing you should know about adopting through the foster system is that all of the children in foster care are there because they were unsafe in their homes. As a result, each of them, regardless of their personal story, have suffered some level of trauma or neglect. This fact sheds light on the importance of adopting a child that is currently in foster care.
If your dream is to adopt an infant or a newborn, domestic adoption is the path you’re most likely going to want to take. This type of an adoption most often requires you to work with a local adoption agency or a private attorney who specializes in adoption. As with any other path to adoption, there are pros and cons to a domestic adoption. Domestic adoption, for example, is more expensive, but it does not require the often challenging task of communicating with a foreign adoption agency.
An international adoption offers you the opportunity to adopt a baby or a very young child. The difference between this path and a domestic adoption is that you will be dealing with adoption agencies in other countries and their requirements and standards vary greatly from one country to the next. Additionally, this path will require you to travel back and forth to the country until the adoption has been completed, which in some cases can take a year or even longer. Another thing to take into consideration is that if you do adopt a child that is a little bit older, you may have to deal with the language barrier. The best thing to do is start researching international adoption and familiarize yourself with the requirements, policies and procedures.
Carefully Choose Your Adoption Professionals
Choosing the right adoption agency or attorney to handle your adoption can make all the difference in your experience. Remember, you will be depending on their expertise, experience and professionalism; you’ll also be spending a lot of time communicating with these folks. One of the best pieces of advice adoptive parents give is to talk to people you trust and to anyone you know who has been involved in the process. You never know who in your circle of friends, coworkers or acquaintances has been touched by adoption and can offer personal insight. Just like reading reviews and getting personal recommendations on many other aspects of your life, learning all you can about the agencies or attorneys you’re considering is crucial.