There are so many factors that can influence a family’s choice to adopt. While the decision makes sense for some, adoption may not be the right fit for others. As this is a life changing decision, take time to evaluate you and your family’s hopes and needs before determining- am I ready to adopt?
If you are considering adoption, here are a few questions that may help guide you in determining if adoption is right for you.
- Why do I want to adopt?
This is an important question to ask yourself before you delve any further. Is adoption your first choice or is adoption your last option? Is being a parent to a child more important than that child having your DNA? Do you feel that you would love a child even if they’re not biologically related to you? Do you feel pressured by anyone? Family? Society?
- Can I provide for this child?
Even if you have pure intentions and sincerely want to take care of a child, you should consider whether you are in a stable enough situation to provide for a child. Parents are responsible for providing for their children financially, emotionally, and physically. Be honest with yourself. Do you have the funds, time, and emotional capability to care for a child throughout his or her life?
- Am I willing to embark on this journey, that could potentially be a long and bumpy road?
While adoption can be quick and seamless, no two adoptions are the same and it can be difficult to predict how your situation will unfold. Families can spend anytime between a few weeks to several years waiting for the perfect match. Even when matched, there still may be emotional ups and downs. It can be disappointing and expensive to continue the process if you aren’t fully committed, so make sure this is something that you believe is worth the effort.
- Is there anything restricting me from adoption (age, marital status, medical history)?
For certain organizations, there are limitations on who can adopt. Adoptive parents must be in good health and able to pass a background check, and some agencies require a significant age difference between the family and the adoptee. Certain agencies may have more stringent requirements than others, so be sure to contact multiple organizations before making a final decision.
- Am I excited to share my adoption plans with family, friends, and others?
As with most things, it’s helpful to have a support system when embarking on new experiences. Ask yourself if your family and friends would be supportive of your decision to adopt? Will your community be a network of comfort and support during the process? Will your family and surrounding community be inclusive once the child has arrived?
- What age do I want the child I adopt to be?
Some adoptive parents have always pictured themselves with a newborn, others may prefer an older child, and some may not have an age preference at all. Is it important to you to raise a child from birth? Or have you considered adopting a toddler, adolescent, or older child?
- How would I feel about parenting a child of a different race or ethnicity than myself?
It is important to ask yourself how you would feel about raising a child that doesn’t look like you. How would you feel about strangers staring or asking you whether your child was adopted? Do you live in an area where this would be uncomfortable or accepted? Would you consider adopting a child from another country?
- Will I be comfortable talking to my child about their adoption story?
Adoption can be difficult to explain, especially if your child is young. Consider how you feel about adoption and how you would present this to your child. Would you be comfortable answering questions about birth parents? For those who are interested in a transracial adoption, would you be comfortable discussing race with your child and exploring their heritage and birth culture? The topic will come up eventually and you’ll want to be prepared.
- How much contact would I like with the birth parents?
This indicates whether you would like an open, semi-open, or closed adoption. Would you like to know about the birth parent, like their background and medical information? Would you like to speak to them during the pregnancy or meet them at the hospital for the birth? Would you be open to contact or a relationship after the placement? This may also depend on who the birth parents are and what they want, but it’s good to think about how this relationship could affect your child.
- Are there other important people to consider?
Adoption touches the lives of everyone involved and that could include your coworkers, friends, family, and even pets! If you have a spouse or partner, make sure that they are on the same page and have the same level of commitment as you. If you have other children, it is important to introduce the topic and consider their feelings towards a new addition.
Adopting a child is a major decision that changes lives. So, if you are considering adoption, it’s important to reflect and consider a multitude of aspects before moving forward. Hopefully, these questions provoked thoughts and feelings that can help guide you in this process. If you still have questions, AdoptHelp offers informational resources to adoptive parents and birth mothers.