Is adoption right for you? There’s a lot that goes into answering this question. Adoption is a great option but it’s not for everyone. It’s a decision that should be carefully considered by you and your partner before starting the process.
There are many factors to consider when asking yourself if you should adopt a child. Talk through each aspect to determine if adoption is right for you and, if so, what type of adoption will work best for you.
Can you love an adopted child the same as a biological one?
Many people have difficulty with this part. If you end up having a biological child in the future, will you feel differently about them? My husband and I were both raised with a step-parent who was significant in our lives so we knew that a parents love didn’t have to be based on biology. Not everyone feels the same so this is something that should be discussed in length with your partner to determine where you both stand.
Do you want to be a parent more than you want a biological child?
Similar to the previous questions, you will need to determine if your true desire is to have a biological child or if it is simply to be a parent. It can be difficult to let go of the idea of experiencing pregnancy and having a child who has your eyes and your spouses nose. If you aren’t ready to let go of this dream then it may be best to consider treatment options instead of adoption for now. Although we knew for years that we were open to adoption, we decided to pursue fertility treatments first because we weren’t ready to give up on the idea of passing on our own genes to our child. It wasn’t until the treatment didn’t work that we decided we were ready for adoption.
What age child are you open to?
Are you attached to the idea of a newborn or are you willing to take on an older child. Consider things like your willingness and ability to handle potential behavioral problems or therapy needs of an older child raised in an unstable environment. My husband and I decided after a lot of discussion that we are open to taking on a child up to the age of 3. The age range you are open to will also help narrow down the types of adoption that will work for you.
How much contact with the biological mother are you comfortable with?
When first considering adoption, our initial though was that we would want a closed adoption with zero contact with the birth family. The thought of having the biological parent involved was scary to us, but the more we learned, the more we opened up to the idea of at least a semi-open adoption. There are potential pros and cons to any level of contact. Depending on what type of adoption you end up selecting you may or may not have a choice in how much contact there is. I will go into more detail about this when I discuss the different types of adoption.
Are you prepared for the financial obligation of adoption?
Many of your adoption options have high out of pocket expenses, some of which may be able to be reimbursed in one form or another. I discuss the financial aspects of adoption more here. When considering whether or not to pursue adoption or what type of adoption is your best option, look at all of the financial aspects.
How will you discuss the adoption with your child?
If you chose to have a closed adoption with a young child, do you plan on discussing with that child that they were adopted and if so when and how will that conversation happen? If you have biological children as well, how will you explain it to them? If you have an open adoption, what will you tell the child about their biological parents? These are questions that your adoption agency can help you with, but ultimately it will come down to what you and your spouse are comfortable with. If you are not comfortable with this aspect of the adoption process, you may want to consider if adoption is actually the right option for you.
Are you prepared for the home study?
Despite the name, a home study is actually less about the home and more about you. It is an in depth evaluation of your ability to raise a child in a healthy environment. They will ask questions about your childhood, current relationships with your family, plans for parenting your child, drinking and drug habits, etc. They require a physical and medical history to determine if you are healthy enough to raise a child. They perform a background check to evaluate any criminal history that you may have. We were surprised by how much was included in the home study and the amount of time it took to complete all of the steps. Don’t expect it to be a brief process and don’t be surprised if there are delays that you didn’t anticipate at the beginning.
Do you have support in your decision to adopt?
Do the people closest to you understand why you want to adopt and support you in the decision? When we decided to adopt we found that most of the people in our live were fully supportive, but there were others who had a more difficult time understanding. Adopting a child is a big decision, so don’t be concerned if there are people in your life who worry about the impact it will have. Share with them the reasons behind your decision and any adoption resources you have. The people who are important in your life want what’s best for you so keep them included.
You Want To Adopt, Now What?
Once you have decided that adoption is the best option for you, it’s time to decide what type of adoption will be the best fit. There are a variety of options for bringing a child into your home and they range in cost, time frame, and likelihood of success. Different types of adoption also cater to different age ranges of children. Which one will work best for you?