As a continuation of our discussion of eco-friendly family planning options, we decided to provide some basic info on adoption that everyone should know before they start the process. Read on for five essential points to discuss as you explore welcoming a child (or children) into your home.
1. Adoption is Not a Fall-Back Plan
You should not be actively trying to become pregnant when you begin the adoption process. In fact, many adoption and home study agencies will make you sign a statement swearing that you will not try and have a baby during the process. The child that you will be adopting deserves to be loved, desired, and desperately wanted.
2. There Are a Variety of Ways to Adopt
Your options include: fostering then adopting a child, adopting domestically, and adopting internationally. Each of the ways has pros and cons. Some things to consider: do you already have children and how will they be affected? Are you prepared to become a multiracial household? Are you open to having a special needs child? Explore them in depth before deciding what is right for your family. Finding an agency that you like and trust is a great first step in discussing the right path for you. Many agencies and adoption resource groups will meet with you or speak with you at length to help you decide if adopting is right for you and your family.
3. Money Matters
Money, which people often mention as an obstacle to adoption, should not be what keeps you from starting the process. Of course, you should be able to provide for the child (and certain countries do have income requirements), but there are adoption tax credits and numerous grant programs for families who need financial help. Many of the families we met throughout the adoption process got creative and crafty. Some even created online stores to sell custom designed shirts, jewelry or artwork. Other families also held huge garage sales, and some relied on their religious communities to help support them. Sources like helpusadopt.org are designed to give financial aid/grants/etc to stable families who may need some additional financial assistance. The fees for adoptions are generally spread out during several months or even years, allowing families time to save and raise money.
4. It’s Not as Simple as it Looks From the Pages of People Magazine
While celebrities often seem to be able to adopt a child within weeks or months, the rest of us know there’s a long, arduous (but definitely worth it) process. Some of the steps include a homestudy process with numerous visits from a social worker, fingerprinting, doing online courses, and keeping up-to-date on all types of paperwork. There are often inevitable delays in adoption, especially internationally, as governments work to make the process as ethical as possible. One popular motto often heard during the adoption process is: Expect the Unexpected.
5. You Will Love this Child as Much as Any Who Shares Your DNA
Whether he or she is placed in your arms moments after birth, or the child is already school-aged by the time he or she comes into your life, you will be amazed at how your natural parenting instinct will switch on when he or she enters your life. And in the event that you need some extra support (and what parent doesn’t??), there are numerous resources available, from your adoption and home study agencies to websites like adopting.org. You will also likely meet other families throughout the process (some virtually and some in person), and adoption playgroups and online groups can be a wonderful source of support.
Lead image courtesy of the Olsson family.