January offers the opportunity for renewal and commitment for the year. Hopeful adoptive parents should consider how they can join the New Year’s resolution bandwagon, focusing on their adoption journey. Here are five suggestions:
1: Commit To Ethics
An ethical adoption is one that keeps the entire adoption triad in mind when decisions are made. The “triad” is the adoptive parents, the biological family, and the child who was adopted (the adoptee). How can hopeful parents commit to ethics? Step by step. Ethical decisions include which adoption professional you work with, paying expectant parent pre-birth expenses (and how much), commitment to openness in the relationship with the birth family, and many more. Being ethical means keeping your promises and doing what is best for your (current or future) child.
2: Continue Learning About Adoption
Topics of interest include open adoption, transracial adoption, and special needs adoption. There are wonderful books, blogs, and articles readily available. However, the best resource is people. Initiate conversations with triad members: experienced adoptive parents, adult adoptees, and birth parents. Ask about their journeys, and do a whole lot of listening and reflection. The more adoption stories you hear, the more perspectives you gain, and the better off you’ll be.
3: Join A Village
A support system is invaluable, and not just for the present and near future, but for the long haul. Ask your adoption professional to get you connected to local adoption support groups. Of course, there are online groups as well. However, when utilizing the support of online groups, keep in mind that it’s important to maintain your child and your child’s birth family’s privacy. Do not disclose intimate or identifying information.
4: Get & Keep Your Finances In Order
Adoption can be expensive. As you move toward building your family, meet with a financial planner and learn about budgeting. Consider fundraising, taking out a loan, and applying for adoption grants. Julie Gumm, author of Adopt Without Debt, offers excellent suggestions and advice in her book. It’s crucial that you have your “ducks in a row” so when the opportunity to adopt arises, you aren’t scrambling for money. Know what you can afford, what you consider ethical, and have a concrete plan on how to get there.
Adopting can be an isolating journey, and you may have slowly distanced yourself from your “nearest and dearest” as you filled out the stacks of paperwork, attended the training sessions and interviews, and created your profile. While you are waiting to adopt, remember who your people are. This might be someone as close to you as your partner and children, your parents, your siblings, and your best friends. These are the individuals who will be celebrating with you when your child arrives. You never know how long (or short) your wait will be, and it’s important to nourish relationships as you wait. Don’t put your life (and your happiness) on hold while you wait.
2017 might be the year you add a child to your family! With this anticipation and hope in mind, choose a renewed focus to make this year wonderful, especially when it comes to your adoption journey and preparing for the little one you’ve long waited for.
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