Choosing to grow your family through the gift of adoption is an exciting and big step. Do you know what kind of family you want? Are you comfortable raising a child who you didn’t give birth to? How will you tell your friends, family or strangers who ask why you want to adopt? All this and more will come up along the way. You’ll want to make sure that you’ve thought through these and formed ideas of how to answer.
The adoption process can be lengthy, complicated and amazing all at once. An emotional roller coaster of paperwork, decisions, hopes and dreams coming true. It requires a lot of patience and perseverance, and a special kind of person to make it through and beyond successfully. But Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is more than happy to help you every step of the way. Here are some important things to know before adopting.
8. Know What You Want
With adoption, there are three options — closed, semi-open and open. As an agency, we encourage open adoption because we feel it’s the most beneficial for everyone involved — the birth parents, the adoptive parents and child. But, we understand that everyone has their own ideas of family structure, and are more than happy to discuss in detail what would be best for you and your family.
Knowing whether or not you are open to adopting outside your race and culture is important, too. This will help your adoption professional match you with birth parents who feel similar to you. Overall, these are essential things to know before adopting. Make sure to outline everything you might want, and to communicate that with your adoption professional.
7. Educate Yourself on the Adoption Process
Don’t go into the adoption process blind. Make sure that you do your homework. Research everything you can about adoption, talk to family and friends, and ask those who have adopted before you what their experience was like. See if you can attend an adoption seminar as well. Also, look up adoption agencies and attorneys to learn what your options are. Looking up your state’s laws regarding adoption isn’t a bad idea either.
Anything and everything you can absorb about the adoption process will be helpful, and provide you with all the important things to know before adopting. It’ll give you insight into what to expect, and how to best prepare for when you officially begin your journey to parenthood.
6. Have a Parenting Plan in Place
Adopting a child is a big responsibility. It ends your life as you know it and drops you into the vast world of parenthood. Are you ready for that? Are you ready to put your child’s needs above your own, and do everything in your power to make sure they grow up in a safe, happy and healthy environment?
It’s also important for you and your partner/spouse to discuss how you will parent your child before adopting. How and when you’ll talk to them about adoption. What forms of communication and discipline you’ll use. What you’ll say about your child’s birth parents. The list goes on. It’s impossible to have all the answers ready, but having a parenting plan in place is crucial to you and your child’s success.
5. Adjust Your Finances Accordingly
You’ve no doubt heard the misconception that adoption is too expensive, or that it will cost you five or six figures. But adopting a child is incredibly affordable, and doesn’t discriminate when it comes to income. In fact, there are many resources available for adoptive parents who are unable to pay everything themselves.
Even so, you’ll want to make sure to discuss total cost with your adoption professional to make sure that you can adjust your finances accordingly before getting too deep into the adoption process. Making sure you have enough to support your son or daughter after finalization, too, is important and something that your adoption professional will ask about.
4. Prepare for the Unexpected
All parents wish that there was a magical guidebook that provided all the answers to parenthood. That spoke of all possible disasters and conflicts, and gave solutions. Unfortunately, such a resource doesn’t exist. Thus, you’ll want to make sure that you are as prepared as you can be for any and everything that comes your way.
Raising an adopted child and being a parent — even if it’s not your first time — is full of ups and downs. Each and every child you have, whether adopted or biological, is unique and will have their own needs and wants. As a result, your parenting strategy will need to adjust and be prepared for whatever comes your way.
3. Loss is a Part of the Adoption Journey
No adoption experience is free from grief or loss. Birth mothers choosing to place their babies for adoption, and you and your partner/spouse not being able to have children biologically are both excruciating losses. The hardest and deepest struggles a parent will ever have to face. But, in this sorrow comes overwhelming joy and peace for both parties.
Just make sure that when you are considering adoption, you are not using it as a Band-Aid. Adopting a child cannot replace your baby, but it can heal your heart in a new and better way.
2. Adoption isn’t about You, but the Child
Perhaps one of the most essential things to know before adopting is that adoption isn’t about you. It’s about the baby you are welcoming into your home. Your world. Your life. From the second they take their first breath to the day they become legally yours, their happiness, safety and health becomes paramount to everything else. No exception.
We cannot stress this enough. Adoption is all about your child. Your needs and interests are no longer a priority. In order to be the best parent possible, be sure that you acknowledge this and are willing to implement it into your daily life.
1. Your Life will Never be the Same
Choosing to grow your family through adoption will change your life forever. From the moment you enter the adoption process, to the instant you first hold your baby girl or boy in your arms, to the second after you walk through your front door with them — your life will never be the same. Despite all the challenges and stressors that come with adoption, it’ll be the best and most rewarding decision you’ll ever make.
Adoption is an incredible blessing in disguise. It allows you to learn a lot about yourself, and about the lives of your child and their birth parents. When the adoption process gets hard, or you have a hard day, keep this in mind. Your decision to adopt not only impacted your life, but theirs too. For the birth parents, you were the family they dreamed and prayed for. For your child, you are their chance to grow and be the best version of themselves.
Things to Know before Adopting
Making the decision to adopt is an amazing first step in a life-changing journey. Because there are many pieces and aspects to the adoption process, just be sure that you learn about all the most important areas before adopting. This will help you be better prepared for your new life ahead, and to reduce the risk of getting overwhelmed during the actual process.
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and a book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
“12 Things You Should Know Before Adopting a Child.” The Donaldson Adoption Institute, www.adoptioninstitute.org/news/12-things-you-should-know-before-adopting-a-child/.
“5 Things to Know (and Do) Before You Adopt.” Adoption Network, Adoption Network Law Center – Safer Than Adoption Agencies, adoptionnetwork.com/adoptive-parents/five-things-to-know-before-you-adopt.
Person. “8 Things You Need to Know Before Adopting.” Woman’s Day, Woman’s Day, 23 Jan. 2018, www.womansday.com/relationships/family-friends/g2540/things-to-know-before-adopting-children.