Choosing adoption can be overwhelming and confusing, rendering many hopeful parents to be paralyzed with fear and indecisiveness. If you are considering adopting in 2017, here are 17 things you need to be doing right now:
1: Consider Why You Want To Adopt
Adopting is a big decision and requires a long-term commitment to not only the process, but of course, to the child you bring into your home.
2: Research Adoption Professionals
Not all adoption professionals are equal. It’s essential that you work with ethical adoption professionals to ensure the long-term well-being of all involved.
3: Analyze Your Finances
Adoption can be expensive, and taking a good, hard look at what you can afford is important. I recommend reading Julie Gumm’s book, You Can Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption.
4: Consider What’s Best For The Whole Family
If you are adopting with a partner, are you on the same page? If you already have children, how do they feel about adoption? What about your extended family and close friends?
5: Find A Village
Having a group of like-minded peers can help you navigate the journey by answering your questions and addressing your concerns. An adoption support group is invaluable!
6: Read, Read, Read
Adoption is intricate, complicated, and bittersweet. Read as many blogs and books on adoption as possible to educate yourself on adoption and the adoption process.
7: Talk To Those Who Have Adopted
There is nothing like face-to-face conversations with those who have “been there, done that”. Take a list of questions with you, and don’t shy away from asking the hard questions.
8: Deal With The Past
If your motivation to adopt has to do with infertility, miscarriage, infant loss, personal disability or disease, or another factor, it’s very important that you are mentally and emotionally healthy before moving forward with the adoption process. Consider counseling, medication, and a support group.
9: Speak With Adoptees
Adoptees are those who were adopted. If you are able, connect with adoptees and ask about their experiences. Listen and learn.
10: Choose Your Adoption Professional
This is one of the biggest steps you will take. Based on your finances, your family dynamic, your faith (if any), your age, your ethical stance, your preferences (regarding a child’s age, race, and more), etc., you can select an adoption professional to help get the ball rolling.
11: Do Your Part
If you want to begin your journey soon, do what is required of you by your adoption professional. Spend a good solid weekend filling out all the paperwork, scheduling home study visits, etc.
12: Meet With Birth Parents
Birth parents are those who placed a child for adoption. Just like in your conversations with adoptees, you should listen and learn from birth parents.
13: Gather Pictures
Most people who adopt domestically are required to put together an online and/or paper profile book that is shown to any expectant parents considering placing their child for adoption. Gather pictures to include in your profile, and get updated pictures taken if needed.
14: Put Your Profile Together
You can do it yourself or use a professional service. Though paying someone to help you create your profile book can be costly, such professionals can help you know what to put in your book, where, and why. If you opt to go at it alone, spend some time looking at the profile books of others to get ideas on what to include.
15: Announce Your Adoption Plans
When you are ready, tell your friends and family you are choosing to adopt. Provide them with resources to help them understand what adoption is. Two suggested books are: In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You To Know About Adoption and Adoption Is a Family Affair!: What Relatives and Friends Must Know.
16: Research The Specifics Of Your Adoption
Whether you are adopting transracially, a child with special needs, a child in an open adoption, or something else, now is the time to get educated. Being proactive is better than being reactive.
17: Enjoy The Journey
It is not easy waiting for your child to join your family, but in the meantime, purposefully take care of yourself and the family you already have. Go on that vacation, learn a new skill, enjoy quiet evenings at home. Don’t stop living life just because you are waiting to adopt.
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