If you’ve read my personal adoption story, then you are aware of the differences between the reasons that my parents had for adopting me and the reasons that my wife and I had for adopting our two children. Regardless, the reasons that matter are the reasons that you have and any that your spouse may have. It is vital that you see eye to eye on any factors and decisions that you make as you go through the adoption process.
There are many different reasons why people can’t have children of their own. As a result they may be considering adoption. It may surprise you that some individuals can naturally have a baby but choose not to. They may have a family history of serious medical problems or mental health concerns. As a result they are afraid to bring a child into the world that is at such a risk to be affected by them. Adoption is also a consideration when your spouse has a child from a prior relationship. Understanding why you wish to adopt is just as important as any other factor in the decision to adopt.
Another factor to consider is if you have had to contend with infertility issues that led you to this point. If so, are you sure you’re ready to move on. Have you fully grieved any loss related to infertility? Processing these emotions are critical. You may wish to consider counseling before pursuing an adoption.
The thought of having a child in your life is one that many people are excited about. You do need to carefully think about the adoption process for you though. There are many things to consider before you will be able to decide if it is right for you. Do you enjoy being around children? If so, do you like them once they get older? Many people love the idea of having a baby in the home but keep in mind they do grow up!
“There are many things to consider before you will be able to decide if it is right for you”
You may also ask yourself if you can love an adopted child as if it were your own. This can be a real issue if only one parent is convinced that they can and will. And a good reason to not yet adopt. It is crucial that you both see yourselves loving your adopted child unconditionally.
There are other factors to consider as well when you want to adopt a child. What is your career? Does it reasonably allow you the time to dedicate to caring for a child? Do you have enough work experience that it is reasonable for you to maintain employment? Children require plenty of love but they also require plenty of money to provide for them properly. Make sure you take a realistic look at your finances because the burden of caring for a child can be very stressful if you aren’t financially prepared for it.
Ask yourself why you want to adopt a child. Make sure it is for all the right reasons. If you are afraid to be alone then you aren’t ready to complete this process. If you want someone to take care of you then this isn’t the route to go either. Your reasons for adoption a child need to include a passion for children and the desire to bring a new type of joy to your life. Taking care of a child is a huge responsibility, so be honest with yourself about if it is something you can do well or not.
Too many people adopt a child because they feel pressure from society to be a parent. Therefore they set out to fulfill a role that they really don’t want. They may feel like they do want children some day, but right now isn’t the best time for that. Another common scenario is for one person in a relationship to push the other to adopt a child with them. While you may want to make your partner happy, be honest with them about how you feel about being responsible for a child.
“Too many people adopt a child because they feel pressure from society to be a parent”
Another thing to consider that is just as important as whether or not you are ready to adopt is birth parent or family involvement; both initially and long term. Open adoptions, to some degree, are becoming far more commonplace. There are several benefits to an open adoption. Being able to get answers to questions such as why did my parents put me up for adoption and where am I from? Also maintaining a relationship with the birth parent of family. This helps the child to develop a sense of identity. Also there is the access to medical history.
Don’t let your fears though about not being a perfect parent stop you from adopting a child. In reality no one out there is a perfect parent, and everyone makes mistakes. If you have plenty of love to share with a child though you will figure out ways of parenting that work for you and your child. Sometimes it just takes giving it a chance for you to see how good you are at it. If you are worried though you should consider taking some parenting classes before you adopt.
These types of classes are often offered locally by various community agencies. Many adoption agencies have them as well that you can ask about. If time restraints are a problem there are even online parenting classes that you can look into. The more confident you are in your abilities to take care of a child, the more you will be motivated to move forward with adopting one.
Once you’ve made the decision to adopt there are a few things to take into consideration. The preferred age of the child is one. Is it absolutely necessary that it be an infant? Or is it acceptable to adopt an older child? And if so, how old? Then there is ethnicity. Must the child be of the same race? Is a mixed race child ok with both parents. It is vital that both parents be on board with any of these decisions. These options come with varied expected timelines. Some come to fruition with a much shorter average wait. All of these things must be discussed by both parents prior to pursuing a child for adoption.
Adopting a child can be an amazing experience and one that adds so much joy to the rest of your life. It is a complete commitment though so make sure you are ready for it. Don’t adopt a child due to pressure from society or even from your spouse. You need to carefully evaluate your reasons for doing so. It isn’t fair to you or to the child you adopt if you aren’t going to dedicate yourself 100% to this type of commitment.