Deciding to adopt a child can be one of the most rewarding decisions in your life. However, the entire adoption process can seem a bit daunting and intimidating if this is your first time! This is why it’s important for you to understand and know as much about adoption as you possibly can so that what should be an exciting time in your life doesn’t become an experience that is frustrating and overwhelming.
Education about Adoption
The first step to adoption is education. Find out as much as you can about the different types of adoption available and the types of babies or children that are available for adoption. For instance, will an open or closed adoption be best for you. There are many adoption support groups all around North America where you can go to find people willing to help you learn as much as you can about adoption. As well, all states have what are called Adoption Specialists who can provide you with information to get you started. The more prepared you are the better you’ll be able to make the right choices for you and your family.
Children Available for Adoption
Depending on your own preferences and needs there are as many different children available for adoption as there are families to adopt them. Newborns, toddlers, and teenagers from many countries around the world are just waiting to be adopted by a caring and loving family. Decide what’s going to be right for you. Perhaps your own children are teens now, and you and your partner feel that you have more time and love to give to another child. Do you want to adopt a baby or are you prepared to adopt a child who is already five or six years old? Knowing ahead of time what’s important and right for you will allow you to focus on adopting a child of a certain age.
Adopting a Baby
Many couples who aren’t able to conceive on their own want to adopt babies who come from a background that is similar to theirs. In the United States, only a small percentage of Caucasian infants are placed up for adoption. Are you willing to adopt outside of your own ethnic background? There are many more Hispanic, African-American, and mixed race babies available for adoption both through private and public agencies.
Adopting Children with Special Needs
Or perhaps you’re ready to adopt a child who has special needs? There are many special needs children just waiting for a family to adopt them. This includes children who have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. Not everyone is prepared to adopt children who need extra care. Once again, do what’s going to be right for you and your family.
Adopting From Another Country
Many couples who can’t have children of their own choose to adopt a child from another country. Some of these countries include Korea, China, Central America, and many countries in Eastern Europe. Many adoption agencies in North America deal exclusively with inter-country adoption. There are some very strict guidelines and laws in place for adopting a child from another country so be prepared for what could be a longer wait than if you adopted from within the United States. As well, there is considerably more cost involved such as agency fees, legal fees, and medical costs. Make sure that you work with a licensed adoption agency to be sure that the process is legal.
Qualifying as an Adoptive Parent
You may be wondering if you and your partner will even qualify to be adoptive parents. You can be either married or single and it doesn’t matter if you have children of your own or if you’re not able to have children at all. You don’t need to have a high income or own your own home. What matters is that you can prove that you’re financially capable of taking care of your adoptive child, and meet all their needs. Just because you’re divorced or have a history of personal counseling doesn’t disqualify you from adopting. The bottom line is that children who are adopted need to live in a home where there is stability and permanence.
The Emotions of Adoption
When you make the decision to adopt a baby or an older child, it’s important to understand the emotions that are involved not only for you but for the child who you’re adopting. If you’re adopting a child from another culture make sure that you learn as much as you can about their own culture so that you can help them understand who they are as they grow older. And don’t forget your own emotions. Are you ready to go through what can be a lengthy adoption process without your emotions getting the better of you? Adoption is a lifetime commitment. Are you prepared to bring a child into your home and give them the commitment then need? Learning and understanding as much as you can about adoption before you start taking the steps to actually adopt is important. When you know what’s to come, you’ll be better able to cope with both the emotions and the logistics of adoption.