The mere decision to adopt a child is not enough; the number of factors that have to be taken into account so that you can bring home a child are many! Each one has to be thoroughly looked into before you can begin or go through with the process of adoption. In this article, we tell you what these factors are.
“It has been said that adoption is more like a marriage than a birth: two (or more) individuals, each with their own unique mix of needs, patterns, and genetic history, coming together with love, hope, and commitment for a joint future. You become a family not because you share the same genes, but because you share love for each other.” – Joan McNamara, adoptive parent
For your own personal reasons, if you have decided to adopt a child, nothing holds truer than the lines above. You make a decision to join your life with another person, a child with whom you have nothing in common other than the fact that both of you want each other in your life. But before you conclusively decide to bring a child home, there are many factors you ought to take into account. We tell you about some of the things to consider when making a decision to adopt a child.
Adoption – Are You Ready for It?
Making a decision to adopt a child is not one that anyone makes without giving it a lot of thought. There may be a myriad of reasons that may have resulted in your partner and you taking this decision. Whatever be your reason, the plan to adopt a child has to be well-thought out. You need to be sure that you are ready for the huge commitment that you are making by choosing to adopt a child. Here’s a list of factors that will help you decide how ready you are for this life-changing decision.
Any new parent will vouch for the many changes that you undergo as a person when you become responsible for another life. With adoption, at many levels, this responsibility is much higher. As an adoptive parent, you need to be sure that you are ready to bring up and take care of a child who does not share your biological and genetic makeup. You need to understand the responsibilities that come with being a parent. If you are unable to conceive a child because of biological problems, then you need to give yourself time to resolve the psychological issues that come with dealing with your own problems. An adopted child, depending on the age of the child, needs a lot of care and attention because he comes from a different background altogether, and if you are dealing with your own issues, then it may be unfair on your child.
Understanding the Adoption Process
As a person readying oneself to adopt a child, it is essential that you understand what the process entails. You need to know who is allowed to adopt a child. This is especially true for single parents or same-sex couples. There are several legal requirements that adoptive parents need to meet. You will have to get in touch with an adoption organization or a lawyer who will help you understand the process better. You will also need to have a deep understanding of the legal requirements of the country or state where you are adopting from. Legal criteria are not flexible in any situation and differ greatly from state to state and country to country. Often, birth parents may set conditions regarding the adoptive parents. As someone considering adoption, these are things that you will definitely need to look at.
Acceptance by Both Partners
If you are a single parent opting to start a family, then the decision that you make will be your own; but in case you are married, then the decision needs to meet the approval of both partners. It is of utmost importance that the prospective adoptive parents agree to the process of adoption. It is essential that both strongly feel the need to bring another person into their family. Have an open dialog with your partner and communicate with each other how you feel about the entire process. Talk about what you expect and what you want from each other.
Equal Involvement of Both Partners
Parenting is a huge responsibility and when you adopt a child, this responsibility can grow manifold. Depending on the age of your child, there will be several issues that you will need to help the child deal with. In such a scenario, both the parents need to be equally involved. It has to be a team effort and the child needs to feel like he can approach either parent. They need to put forward a united front and help each other out in the process of bringing up their child. Either partner cannot take the other one for granted. Both of you need to be psychologically prepared to share your life and each other with a child.
When a couple opts to adopt a child, it is very important for them that their loved ones support them in their decision. Without a positive environment around them, they can often find the entire process extremely difficult to deal with. Once you have made the decision to adopt a child, you need to convey the same to your family and friends and explain to them the importance of this decision in your life. It goes without saying that they will play a huge role in your child’s life as well and it is important that they be around and supportive from the very beginning. If you already have a child, and are adopting another child, then you also want to ensure that your child understands the scenario and is comfortable with the idea.
An extremely important factor for consideration is how secure you are financially. Costs of adoption may vary greatly and there are many different costs involved in the process. This includes the fees of the agency, the lawyer, travel costs, the costs as incurred by the birth parents, etc. Some estimates state that an adoption can cost anywhere between USD 8,000 to USD 30,000. Other than this expense you need to think about the long term costs of providing for and bringing up a child.
It is important that you take all these factors into consideration before deciding whether or not you are ready to adopt a child. For parents willing to adopt, there will be many more things that will need to be considered. In the next section, we take a look at those factors about the child that you may want to consider.
Considerations About the Child You are Adopting
After you have reached the decision that you are ready to adopt a child, it is necessary that before you let the excitement overwhelm you, you take several important things into account. It is important that you take the needs and wants of the baby into account. You will need to understand whether there are specific things that you are looking for in your adopted child. The questions that are listed below are just some of the many that you need to answer for yourself before taking the final decision regarding the adoption.
- Am I interested in adopting a child of a specific gender?
- Do I want to adopt an infant or am I more comfortable with the idea of adopting an older kid?
- Would I be willing to adopt siblings?
- Would I be comfortable with the idea of opting for an open adoption?
- Do I want to adopt nationally or internationally?
- Will I be willing to adopt a child who does not share the same ethnicity as me?
- Will I be able to parent a child who may have faced physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse?
- Will I be willing to adopt a child who is suffering from a disorder, has displayed developmental issues, or has been diagnosed with a debilitating disease?
All of these are questions that will need you to introspect. You need to have a specific answer for each of these questions as it is important that your child is able to adjust well in your house.
Even in the case of infants, studies indicate that by the end of the first year of their lives, they have learned almost 50% of everything that they will learn. The first year of their life also shapes their psychological development and how they view the world. As a child grows older, relating to others becomes tougher. If you choose to adopt an older child, then you need to take into account the fact that he may have been through a lot and his experiences will define his relationship with you. While adopting a child it is important that you discuss his case with the caseworker and try and understand as much as you can about him. This is especially true in case you are adopting a child who has special needs or who has suffered some form of abuse in the past.
If you are unaware of the problems that the kid has, then it can be quite difficult for you to help him cope. Raising a kid with special needs or a child who has suffered abuse can often place a lot of stress on parents and it is important that you be sure that you are ready to deal with situations that may crop up. While you may be told that with love, affection and care, the child will be fine, often it takes more than that for a child to adjust to a new home and new family. Add to this a change in surroundings, friends, lifestyle, etc., and the child will have a lot to deal with. Raising such a child will require exceptional strength and courage on your part. Of course, not all children may have been through the same experiences but it is always better to be prepared to deal with the myriad of parenting issues that you may be faced with.
For couples who are unable to have their own kids, single parents, or couples who want to give a child in need a deserved home, adoption is an excellent way to go. Once you have considered all the different factors that need your attention, and you are sure that you want to bring home a child, then nothing should stop you from starting your family.