I was Hoping I would have a Baby by This Weekend
The weekend is just around the corner; Saturday and Sunday are the days that everyone else has been looking forward to. My guess is that weekends just leave you with more time to wonder, ‘Where in the heck is my baby?”
Shopping for adorable baby clothes and nursery items will likely prove to be more punishing than fun. If you have decided to adopt, you may want to spend some time considering the options that will ultimately define your family makeup. In my opinion, adoption requires 3 important attributes: an enormous amount of courage, a huge leap of faith and a great deal of patience. Actually, 4--adoption also requires a financial commitment. In fact, these are the very same qualities that will come in handy when you become a parent.
Let's address the important questions you will need to ask yourself and your partner (if you have one) in order to move forward with adoption.
From where would you like to adopt? A lot of information has been shared in the media lately about International adoptions. You should know that there are still babies waiting to be adopted in the United States too.
Would you like to become a parent to an infant, a toddler or an older child? If you adopt internationally, you will be adopting a toddler or an older child. Given the provisions that are required to adopt outside of the US, there is no way to adopt an infant outside of this country. If you’re looking to adopt an older child, you may also want to consider going through the Foster system.
Would you be willing to go through the foster care process to adopt? This option alleviates the financial obligation but the emotional risks are much higher. The goal of foster care is to reunite the birth parent(s) with his/her biological child/children. The process may stretch out for quite some time depending on the birth parent's situation. With each passing day, the bond between you and the child will likely grow stronger.
Are you prepared to adopt a child with special needs, one that has been exposed to drugs/alcohol or would you prefer to adopt a seemingly healthy baby? This is sometimes a difficult question for families. If you truly don’t feel that you could parent a child with special needs, then it is important to be honest with yourself and your partner. There are definitely healthy babies and children waiting to be adopted.
Would you be willing to adopt twins or multiples? If you are open to this possibility, you may increase your odds of adopting sooner.
What race or nationality would you like for your adopted child to be? This requires you to think long-term about your family makeup. Obviously, if you adopt a child outside of your race or nationality, you will likely be asked questions on a regular basis from family, friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers. While it's really nobody's business, it will behoove you to be prepared with answers that will protect your entire family.
If you have decided to adopt domestically, would you consider open as well as closed adoptions? A lot has been learned about children having a link to their birth mother and/or extended birth families. While it can be daunting and even intimidating to think about continuing a relationship with your future child’s birth family, studies have shown that many children benefit from this connection.
Do you have access to the financial reserves you will need to adopt? Conservatively speaking, adoption (International or Domestic) will cost anywhere from $30-$45K for a completed adoption. Regardless if you decide to go through an agency or pursue private adoption, there will be attorney’s fees and most likely travel expenses. There are added risks involved in domestic adoption; 30% or more domestic adoptions do not complete due to a birth mother or family member deciding to keep the child. International risks could involve a country shutting down even after matches have been made. These closures are typically political in nature. Currently, Russia is getting ready to stop permitting US residents to adopt.
Do you have the emotional support you will need to pursue a road that could lead to your ultimate happiness but may also be fraught with major bumps? Adoption is not for the weak at heart. There are a lot of unknowns and much of the control is not in your hands. Can you handle going through an adoption that does not complete?
Are you willing to go through the home-study process? For some reason, people grow anxious and nervous around this portion of the adoption process. It is really not as bad as it sounds. Our social worker made it as painless as possible.
If you are looking to adopt with a partner, do you agree on all of the above questions? (Personally, this was the area where my husband and I struggled the most. I was in it to win it and he sat on the bench at times. The moment our son was born, he leaped in with both feet and his whole heart, however.)
These are just a few questions that you should ask yourself before you commit to trying to adopt. My personal experience is with domestic adoption. If you would like to read, Brandon’s Story, it is a post about our personal journey. It talks about the relationship that we built with our son’s birth mother. It shares the emotional roller coaster ride we took in preparing to be our son’s parents. I also have an adoption resources page that you may find useful.
While the road for us became bumpy at times, I wouldn’t change a single twist or turn. We love our son so much and feel beyond blessed that he made his way into our lives and our hearts. We often joke with him and say, “It sure took you long enough to find us!” But of course, he was absolutely worth the wait.