Parenthood is challenging—it doesn't matter whether you have biological or adopted children. It's a huge responsibility, but at the same time, it's incredibly rewarding.
Still, it's important to remember that there's a lot of preparation that goes into adoption. Doing research, talking to the right people, and learning the conditions and processes are necessary.
Moreover, there are several things to consider to know the full extent of the adoption process, not just the paperwork and legal talk. Many adoptive parents have talked about their experiences and problems they've encountered.
There are all kinds of blogs that talk about the things they wish they knew before adopting, and it's not meant to keep people from adopting children. Rather, it's meant to better prepare would-be parents for this huge responsibility.
Adoption is a sensitive undertaking because the future of a child is left in your hands. Sometimes, people who adopt children end up realizing that they can't continue with it, and this can be painful especially for the child.
Before making this lifelong commitment, consider the following:
1. Thinking It Over
As mentioned, adoption is an important decision. Be sure to discuss this with your partner openly and honestly. You can't decide to adopt a child if one of you isn't sure about it.
Make sure you're on the same page before moving to the next step.
You'll also need to think about and discuss the age of the child you want to adopt. This is crucial, and it will determine the type of adoption you'll be getting.
Children have different needs at certain ages, so consider this in choosing the child's age.
You might even want to think about adopting a sibling group or a child from a diverse background. It's also possible to adopt children who were saved from emotional or physical abuse.
Their needs can vary greatly based on these factors.
2. How Ready Are You?
Is your home conducive for a child to live in? Are you able to afford adoption, as well as the child's needs? Adoption can vary in costs, but the expenses won't end there.
Childcare is continuous, and you'll need to be able to support them in all aspects.
In fact, some adoption services like AFTH impose certain requirements for people to be eligible. These requirements are put in place to protect children and ensure their growth in a conducive environment.
For instance, while there’s generally no income requirement, adoptive parents would have to prove that they can care for the child without state support.
Doing a bit of research on the experiences of other adoptive parents can be extremely helpful. You'll need to know the struggles and how these can affect your mental health, too.
3. Changing Your Mindset
It's important not to think about adoption as a process where you are ‘saving' a child. This is a dangerous way of thinking because of the potentially high expectations on your part for the child to show gratitude.
A dynamic like this can later lead to the idea that the child owes you for adopting them.
Take this mindset instead—think about how your life as a parent improved by adopting a child, similar to thinking that giving birth to a biological child is a blessing.
4. Learning Your Options
You have various options when adopting a child, such as the following:
- Foster adoption: You can adopt by first fostering a child, and when the child is legally allowed to be adopted, their foster parents can take custody. However, foster parents aren't always the ones who get to adopt the child.
- Domestic infant adoption: If you choose to adopt an infant born within the country, it's called domestic infant adoption.
- International adoption: When you decide to adopt a child from abroad, it's called international adoption. This often involves a more complex legal process, but still possible to accomplish as long as you follow the procedures.
5. Knowing Your Resources
It's also important to remember that there are resources and organizations available to assist you. Reaching out for help is necessary since as mentioned previously, it involves a complex procedure.
The adoption process can be a headache, and it's good to surround yourself with people who can talk to you about it and help you out.
You can try looking for national organizations and even support groups in your area. There are even online groups on social media where adoptive parents or anyone looking to adopt can start threads or conversations and ask questions.
When considering adoption, you'll need to stay realistic and grounded. You might get easily swept away by the excitement of it all, but you'll need to approach it with the right pace and do it correctly.
Parenting takes a lifetime of dedication, and you'll need to be more than ready.