It’s no secret that adopting a child is a huge step not only in the life of the adopting family, but in the baby’s life as well. It will undoubtedly lead to questions from outside sources as well as the child once he or she grows up, but the love that is required to accept a child into your family is immeasurable.
While it’s an extremely loving and compassionate decision to adopt a baby and raise him or her as your own, there are a lot of things that you need to consider before you take that plunge. Adopting is a lifelong decision that will change everything for you and your family. Here are four things that you and your family must consider before adopting a child.
Be Careful with Your Language and Views
While it may seem meaningless or harmless, there is actually a big difference between “placing” a child for adoption and “giving” a child up for adoption. Similarly, there is a big difference between “saving” a child and “adopting” a child.
From a birth mother perspective, “giving” a child up implies that they do not want the child or that they’re giving up on them while “placing” implies that they have made the conscious decision that their child will have a better life being raised by their matched family. We recommend that all parties involved really focus on the positive “placing” instead of the negative “giving” language. This is important during the process and it will also be important when explaining to the child the decision to have them placed for adoption.
From an adoptive family perspective, it’s important to never view adopting a child as you “saving” them. Saving is easily aligned with gratitude. No parent, birth or adoptive, will ever receive the amount of gratitude that they truly deserve, but that expectation may linger if adopting a baby is viewed as “saving” him or her.
While these may seem like very small differences, they can have major psychological ramifications for all parties involved. We recommend being very careful about how you approach the language around a child’s adoption.
The adoptive process is not a short one and will require patience, perseverance, and tenacity. The average time to go through the adoptive process is six to 12 months, but it can be longer than that. Don’t get frustrated if you’re not matched right away. Keep pushing forward and don’t get discouraged. If you continue to hold out hope and trust in the process, your adoptive dreams will come true.
PRO TIP: In order to better your chances of being matched, consider loosening your preferences. The more strict your preferences, the smaller the pool of potential matches.
Understand the Costs
While it is in no way required that you be wealthy in order to adopt a child, there are substantial costs involved in adopting including things like counseling, home study, matching, medical costs (those not covered by insurance), legal expenses, and more.
While there are a lot of things that go into the cost of adopting a baby, there are plenty of adoption assistance programs out there to help families cover some of the costs of adopting. Check out our Making a Family: Adoption Assistance for Adoptive Families for a run down of all of the assistance options available to you!
What Birth Mothers are Looking For
While each birth mother or birth parents have a different idea of the family that they want to raise their child, the common thread is that they are looking for a safe and loving home for their child. They want the best life possible for their baby. In order to be matched as quickly as possible, it’s important to be as open as possible to children from different kinds of families with different pasts.
Overall, it’s just important that you show birth mothers that their child will have a great life with you. Try to be as transparent as possible in your profile so that the birth mother understands what the baby’s life with your family would be like.
Counseling is Important
Both pre- and post-counseling are very important for both the adoptive family and the birth parents. Placing a child for adoption and adopting a child are very big life events and each party will have a different level of grief, excitement, fear, attachment issues, and more. Counseling can make all the difference. Investing in the time and attention that you and your family need will be vital in a successful transition and happy future.
When you decide that you’re ready to adopt a baby, these things really need to be thoroughly considered so that you understand the process, set your expectations correctly, and get matched as quickly as possible. Ready to begin the process? Learn more about adopting with Adoption Choices of Colorado and begin your application today!