When you make the decision to adopt a child, you might not know what to expect. Maybe you and your partner have been trying for years to start a family or perhaps this is a fairly recent decision. Either way, adopting a child is a very exciting, yet intimidating process. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can make sure that your plans to adopt go as smoothly as possible.
1. Research as much as possible
Before you make a decision about adoption, it’s important that you do as much research as possible. Places like the Adoption Support Center can actually help you with researching the different types of adoption. Remember that there is more than one way to adopt, so you’ll need to decide whether you want to adopt domestically or internationally before you begin.
2. Be Patient
While it’s normal to want to start your family as quickly as possible, keep in mind that adoption can be a lengthy process. You will likely hear stories of parents who were able to adopt a child very quickly, but for many families, adoption can take months or even years. Remember to remain patient during this process.
3. Understand the Financial Aspect
In addition to normal parenting costs, child adoption can be expensive itself. If you choose to adopt domestically, you will have to pay for a home study and possible legal fees. If you plan to adopt internationally, keep in mind that you’ll have adoption fees in addition to your travel expenses. Be ready to invest financially in growing your family when you decide to adopt.
4. Remain Flexible
Some parents enter the adoption process with specific goals in mind, but it’s important to remain flexible. You may not get a child who is the exact age you planned for or who is the gender you hoped for, but you’ll get a child that you can love and nurture.
5. Remember that Adoption is a Difficult Decision
While choosing to adopt a child is an important decision, so is the choice to give a child up for adoption. America Adopts points out that many birth mothers do not have the support of their friends and family when it comes to adoption. Make sure that you are sensitive to her decision. Choosing to give a baby to an adoptive family is something she has likely wrestled with for some time.
6. Ask Questions
Ask all of your questions. Whether you’re talking with an adoption agency, a social worker, or a birth mother, don’t shy away from questions. Asking questions is the best way to get the information that you need during this process, so be brave and speak up when you need to.
7. Seek Advice
You aren’t alone in the adoption process. There are many people who can advise you on the appropriate ways to proceed with your adoption. Consult a social worker or adoption attorney if you need additional guidance.
8. Talk to Other Adoptive Parents
If you feel overwhelmed, scared or lonely, don’t be afraid to seek out other adoptive parents. Chances are that they know what you’re going through and can offer you advice on how to get through this process in one piece.
9. Start the Process as soon as possible
When you and your spouse decide to adopt, it’s important to start the process as soon as possible. Whether this means fundraising to pay for an international adoption or scheduling a home study with a local social worker will vary from family to family. The sooner that you start the process, however, the sooner you’ll have a child.
10. Get Ready Ahead of Time
Finally, remember to start preparing your home for your new child. You’ll want to get a bedroom or nursery ready, as well as furniture, clothing, and toys. Though adoption can take years, sometimes it happens very quickly, so it’s best to be as prepared as possible. If you already have children, talk with them about what adoption will mean for your family and involve them in the process as much as possible.