What You Should Know Before Trying To Adopt

What to know about adopting a baby

Thinking of adopting a child? It isn't going to be easy. But those who have gone through the adoption process know it’s totally worth it, in spite of all the obstacles that stand in your way. For those who have not yet started the process, however, it is important to be as educated and prepared as possible for every upcoming challenge.

Holding your baby in your arms for the first time will overwhelm you with feelings of gratitude and love. But there will be many hardships along the way before these feelings ever arrive.

Adoptive parents need to prepare for any and all possible difficulties. With that in mind, here is a list of factors to consider before deciding if adoption is right for you.

The Wait
Yes, you’ve heard it so many times before but adoption really is a time-consuming process. In addition to all the red tape and time associated with obtaining your home study and finding a trusted adoption professional, it can take years before being matched with your child. The time spent waiting can really wear a person down. But if you know going in that waiting is going to be a part of the adoption process, you can start building up the patience and mental endurance you will need for the months (or years) ahead.

The Emotional Toll
Often associated with the wait, families can begin to wear down from frustration as their adoption journey goes on and on. Add to that the disappointment from false leads, scams, broken matches, or no matches at all and you can see why some families will consider abandoning their search altogether. Some adoptive parents may find themselves asking questions like: What is wrong with us? Why doesn't anyone like me? Let's face it, the adoption search isn't for the faint of heart. Whatever insecurities or frailties you have right now may only be magnified in the face of repeated adoption failures. Going into your journey with a positive mindset and being happy with yourself and family situation as it stands right now, regardless of your ultimate outcome, is a good way to prepare for these kinds of mental pitfalls.

Your Child’s Age
Most couples or individuals who want to start the adoption process want a baby they can raise from birth. In fact for many adoptive parents, it is baby or bust. Consequently, there is a lot of competition for adopting infants. On the other hand, older kids and teenagers are often most in need of adoption. So before starting your adoption journey, please take at least a few moments to honestly consider your future adoptive child’s age. Ask yourself if you would be willing to take on the challenges of raising an older child or teenager. Or even a non-infant, such as a toddler or first-grader. Understandably, this may not be your dream situation. But an older child can bring an entirely new dynamic to your family, which can be extremely rewarding. And best of all, adopting an older child may significantly reduce your wait to adopt.

Consider the Whole Family’s Feelings
You know in your heart that you would do anything to adopt a child. But sitting down with your immediate family members to get their feelings on it before the process begins is beneficial. The unique challenges that come with adoption will likely impact your entire family and stir up some vulnerabilities. Knowing everyone’s concerns, doubts or fears going into the process will help it go much more smoothly.

Biological Parents
The relationship with your child’s birth / biological parent(s) may bring up feelings of jealousy, inadequacies, comparison, or even anger. That is why it is important to plan for a possible relationship (open adoption) with the biological mom or family even before you start your adoption search. Luckily, there are many articles and resources about open adoption that can help. As time passes, it’s natural for your child to have questions about his or her biological parents. Remember this is to be expected and should never take away from your close bond as a mother or father. To help you prepare for all types of adoption (open, semi-open, or closed), start educating yourself now.

Expect Unexpected Expenses
Plan ahead for adoption expenses (lots of them), but also for additional expenses that might come up. On your journey, you may have to cover unanticipated costs such as adoption advertising, traveling, or medical expenses. If the child you are adopting needs medical attention such as counseling or has a medical condition, planning ahead may prevent you from falling into financial debt.

Rely On Help
The adoption process can be emotional and requires self-reflection, hard work, and constant communication. Seeking help when needed, especially from those that have been through it, can be extremely helpful. Don’t get discouraged by the adjustment period that occurs after adopting. It’s natural for there to be a period of time for everyone involved to get used to their new normal. Always rely on others for help when you need to.

Remember Your Journey Is Only Beginning
Remember to take the long view when adopting. Once you have adopted your baby, your journey is only beginning! Prepare not just for an adoption but for your parenting journey too because that is your ultimate goal. Good luck!

Whether you are working with an agency, attorney, or independently, you’ll gain valuable exposure with a parent profile on Adopting. Signing up is easy and free! Join our growing adoption community and start growing your family too.