If you are looking to adopt a baby or child, it’s important to learn all you can about the process. Find professionals you feel comfortable working with.
Take the time to examine your motives for wanting to adopt. Some of the most successful adoptive parents have a wide range of motives—from saving children to relieving personal pain or guilt.
1. Understand the Process
The adoption process is long, complicated, and sometimes emotionally draining. But if you take some time to understand all that’s involved beforehand, you can make the journey to parenthood much smoother for yourself and your new child.
The first thing to do is research. Read adoption books and articles, talk to people who have adopted, request information from professionals, and speak with other adoptive parents. You can also learn about different options, including private, international, and agency adoptions. This will help you decide which one is best for you and your family.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to start the adoption assessment process. This is also known as the home study, and it’s an important part of the overall process. It is a thorough investigation of your home by a social worker that usually includes several visits, financial and medical records, a criminal background check, and names of relatives who can serve as references.
During the home study, it’s important to be completely honest. If there’s anything that might affect your chances of becoming a parent, like an old criminal record or financial issues, let the social worker know about it as early on as possible. Adoption agencies have a duty to abide by laws protecting the rights of their clients, and they should not discriminate against prospective parents on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or marital status. If you find that an agency is discriminating against you, contact an attorney right away.
Once the home study is complete, you’ll have to submit it to your adoption agency for approval. Once approved, you’ll be able to begin searching for children and meeting birth mothers who need adoptive parents. Then, you’ll work with your caseworker to find the perfect match for your family. During this step, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with the types of children who are available through your adoption agency and the specific laws and policies that govern them. If you’re adopting from abroad, a familiarity with foreign laws and procedures can help you avoid any unforeseen delays that may hinder your progress.
2. Know Your Options
If you’re interested in adopting, there are many options. A few examples include domestic or international adoption, private or agency adoption and sibling groups. You should research the types of children available, the adoption process and learn as much as you can about the child you are hoping to adopt. You can also read books, talk with people who have adopted and seek the advice of professionals involved in adoption. However, remember that everyone’s experiences are different and that one professional or agency may be right for some but not others.
Many states have adoption specialists who can answer questions about the specific regulations in your State and help you determine which type of adoption is best for you. Additionally, community colleges, hospitals, religious groups, adoption support groups and local agencies often offer pre-adoption courses.
Another important consideration is whether or not you are comfortable with an open adoption. If so, you need to establish a plan with your birth parents about how you will communicate with them and what the level of contact will be, such as letters, phone calls or visits. This can be a difficult decision for birth parents as well.
It is also important to be realistic about the time frame of your adoption. Some children are available quickly while others may take longer to come into your home. If you are willing to wait, the wait can be very rewarding and worth it.
If your adopted child will be from another country, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about the culture, traditions and history of that region. This will help you connect with your adopted child and give him or her a sense of identity. You could also choose to celebrate important holidays from the child’s country of origin at home, such as New Year’s or Thanksgiving, so your family can share the joy of these celebrations with the child.
Finally, as you prepare to bring your baby home, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Just like you would if you were expecting a baby, make sure to eat, sleep and exercise regularly. Also, ask a friend or family member to watch the baby while you get some rest. You’ll be a better parent when you are well rested and happy.
3. Make a Plan
Adoption is a complex process and having a solid adoption plan in place can help make each step a little easier. As you move through the different stages, your adoption plan will help ensure that your wishes are respected. While you can always change your mind, having one in place beforehand will be a huge relief for everyone involved.
One of the most important components of an adoption plan is determining your preferences regarding the adoptive family. This will include if you want to have family members present in the delivery room, if you want to spend time with your baby afterward, and how often you would like to communicate with the adoptive parents (i.e., emails, phone calls, personal visits).
If you’re looking for a family that’s a little different than the typical American family, international adoptive families are an excellent option. They can offer you a wide variety of experiences that aren’t as common, including cultural and language immersion and the ability to travel to the child’s birth country.
Another option is to choose a closed adoption. While this isn’t as common, it can be the right choice for some birth mothers and children. If you’re considering a closed adoption, it’s important to talk to your adoption professional to see if this is the best choice for your situation.
Once you have your preferences in place, it’s time to start thinking about the type of relationship you want with the adoptive family. This may be a difficult decision, but it’s important to think about how you’d like your relationship to progress. You might want to keep in touch with the adoptive parents through emails, phone calls, or in-person visits on a set schedule. Or, you might prefer a less formal relationship and only want to interact on a as-needed basis.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is dedicated to helping people adopt a healthy, happy life and find their perfect match. Our goal is to provide valuable resources and information that can help you get started on your adoption journey. If you need more assistance, please contact us at any time!
4. Prepare for the Future
While preparing for adoption, you need to carefully consider your beliefs and ability to fully embrace parenting a child who is not biologically related. You also need to assess whether you have the financial stability to cover medical and other expenses. You should also consider how this decision will impact your spouse or partner, especially if you’re in a non-traditional family. If you’re a single parent, it’s particularly important to make sure that you have a support system in place.
Adoption is a lengthy process, and it’s important to be patient. During this time, you may become distracted by life events or get frustrated with the wait. But remember that it will be worth it once your child is home.
You should also be prepared for questions from friends and family about your adoption plans. These may come at any time and could be difficult to hear, but it’s important to be open and honest with them. This will help ease any tension that may arise and ensure that they have an accurate understanding of your situation.
If you’re adopting a baby, you’ll want to plan for a baby shower. This is a great way to prepare your home for your new addition and build excitement for the arrival of your son or daughter. This is also an opportunity to get some essential supplies that you’ll need, like bibs, blankets and binkies.
You should also decide what your level of openness with the birth family will be. This will affect how often you communicate with them, and it will also determine what rights your child has in the future.