7 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Baby
There are many parents who choose to adopt a child for various reasons. Some decide they would rather give a child a home because there are too many children in foster care that are being left behind and abused. Some parents can’t have their own children so they decide to adopt and also single parents are getting into the adoption process just as much as married couples of different backgrounds and genders.
The key is to make a strong and loving home for a child who needs a family. There are many items and issues parents that choose to adopt should consider before going through the process. The cost can be high if you are adopting from overseas and make sure the agency you use is a well respected and legitimate agency that doesn’t take your money.
You can do research and meet some people and go to support groups. Listen to other people’s successes or negative experiences so you get an idea of what you are in for. There are times children don’t work out in an adoptive home and they are the wrong fit and the child is given back. Prepare yourself for these issues that might arise, because you will cause unnecessary emotional stress on both the child and your own family.
The best thing to do is to consider these 7 tips before going through the adoption process.
Sometimes families want to add a child to their family and they don’t necessarily want to conceive. They feel that there are many babies that need homes so they decide to adopt. There is quite a bit of information that parents need to know that can be very overwhelming. The question is are you looking to adopt a child from the United States or another country?
United States Infant Adoption
When you and your partner decide to adopt domestically, chances are you have researched the adoption procedure overseas and decided against foster care. Parents become excited and want to start the procedure right away and also want to meet the baby immediately so you can start the bonding process, along with creating memories of your family. Parents that choose to adopt in the United States will find that there are pros and cons here as well as overseas adoption.
There are things that are easier and things that are more difficult about adopting a baby in the U.S. The good thing about adopting a baby in the US is you give up the endless hassles of talking constantly to a foreign adoption agency. The cost to adopt in the US is also going to be more expensive than choosing foster care.
It’s your choice whether you adopt here, overseas or decide on foster care and whatever you choose, this is the choice your family is the most comfortable with. If you are feeling insecure about adopting a baby in the US, find out if domestic adoption is right for your family. In addition, there are other hurdles like physical, emotional, mental and financial issues that happen when you adopt domestically.
Are you and your partner willing to do the research about becoming an adoptive parent? In addition, do you and your partner want any kind of communication with the baby’s biological parents? Are you and your partner willing to love this child like you would your own? There are great support groups you can check to see if you can find the answers you are looking for.
The paperwork that is involved can be very draining when it comes to adoption. Your whole family has to air out any dirty laundry they might have had in the past and it feels like everyone will find out about your family’s personal life. You feel violated to a point but remember it’s only the social worker that knows these details about your family.
In addition, this information is absolutely necessary in order for the correct placement for the child and is done for both of you as far as your best interests are concerned. A social worker’s job is to make sure that the child is going to the correct home and the right family. The information also is used to help you receive the right child in regards to your likes and interests and some of the requests of the birth parents are also taken into consideration.
Paperwork can take a while as far as the process is concerned, so the sooner you complete this and go through the interview and appointment process, the quicker the adoption process can flow. If you are just starting the process, start getting together the necessary paperwork required right now which includes certified copies of any divorces, marriage certificates, death certificates of deceased spouses, adoption decrees of children already adopted by you and birth certificates for everyone in your family. There is additional paperwork that is required like life insurance, health insurance, employment, income, debts, mortgage or rent information, and asset verification.
The paperwork also requires a physical examination, background checks, home inspection, fire inspection, pictures of all members of your family, any prior home studies and most importantly references. This paperwork takes time to get everything in order, especially if you have to send for copies that are certified or wait for the inspections. This is why it’s important to keep moving along with the process.
It’s not necessary to feel overwhelmed by all of the requirements to adopt so just take it one day at a time. Make a list and keep track of the items you have completed. Ask questions as much as possible to the adoption specialists on your case because they have all the answers if you’re nervous about the adoption process.
2. Choosing the Right Adoption Agency or Lawyer
When you are looking for an adoption expert, you are starting the procedure towards adoption and this person will be the one that will guide you and your spouse through the maze. Here are some things to think about when choosing the right expert.
Can they answer all of your questions? Have you decided on a lawyer or agency? Does the expert assist the birth mothers with counseling and other needs? Does the agency have support groups?
How long does the average adoptive family wait for a newborn? How many families do they work with at a time? How many babies do they place in homes during the year? What are their fees and when do they have to be paid?
Who pays for the birth mother’s expenses? Does the agency consider open adoption? How is the communication process? These are a few good questions that most adoptive parents should ask before deciding on choosing the adoption expert or the lawyer. Make sure you understand the difference between both and their duties as far as the fees and the adoption goes.
3. Home Study
Parents that begin the home study paperwork have to start making appointments with a social worker and adoption agency. The agency will be the people that take your paperwork for your home study information. The agency gives the adoptive parents the right forms and then they meet in person to find out if your family is fit to be adoptive parents.
Make sure your paperwork is filled out honestly and correctly. Lying only hurts your chances of becoming adoptive parents because when people feel they have to hide things about their lives, it always comes out in their dirty laundry.
The home study process is a long ordeal because you and your spouse will meet many times with the agency professionals for interviews, questions, paperwork and other items. Make sure you continually take notes every time the professional enters your home. These visits really are not as scary as you feel they might be.
The adoption professional is only doing their job and seeing if your home is tidy and your family is the right fit for the new baby. They look for space, safety issues, anything that might cause harm in your home and make sure any cleaning or harmful supplies are stored out of reach of children. Look at the state requirements for adoption that you live in because this will help you with the home study visits.
Certain people have a tougher background than other candidates and they worry they will fail the portion of the home study. Substance abuse, arrests and other criminal activities that happened in your past should be brought up ahead of time and don’t hide these facts. It’s better to be honest so you are able to explain yourself and how you have changed than fail the home study because you are being dishonest.
Adoption experts typically don’t want to fail anyone because there are so many children that need homes. They are only interested in helping you with your new family so you can raise your children in a successful environment.
4. Open or Closed Adoption
In years past, open adoptions were not popular. Parents adopted children and kids ended up searching for years to find their birth parents. Some had good experiences and some did not when they met their birth parents.
Back in the day, single mothers ended up going to stay at a relative’s home far away or with nuns and their child went to an orphanage, because unwed mothers were taboo. Now open adoption is much more popular and is much better for the child. It’s important that the parents stay in touch with the adoptive parents so their child can decide if they want to meet their biological parents someday.
There is more contact through social media now with emails and pictures and mail and the child can experience more love. Open adoption is not an easy decision and most people think a closed adoption is easier. This idea of open adoption takes maturity and commitment along with communication with the biological parents.
The best way to handle open adoptions is to set the boundaries in the beginning so there are no questions and have a lawyer or the agency draw up a written contract so all parties are satisfied with the decision. Closed adoptions are not as popular as they were years ago. Closed adoptions still happen and at times a parent’s rights have been terminated or the child may have been left at a safe place without questions asked.
Sometimes an open adoption isn’t always the right decision for all families, so a closed adoption has no communication with the biological parents. Talk to your partner and decide which is best and suits your emotional maturity when you choose adoption. You can always read about other adoptive parents stories and how to open vs closed worked for them.
5. Coping with the Stress of Adoption
Adopting a child is a very hard decision and a long hard process. There are many families that have talked about their experiences and there is a book that is free for people that are interested in adopting. The book talks about families going through the infant adoption process in the US, and every family in the book has faced a challenge or many challenges.
The best thing to do is to prepare yourself for the stress you and your partner are going to experience. The problem is most couples do suffer from adoption burnout before they even adopt or enjoy their new child.
There are many stressors which include the home study, the financial burden, the long pages of paperwork so here are some ways to help you both deal with this stress of the adoption process. Take a step back for a while, even if it’s only for a few hours to a few days, try mindfulness and distract yourself with a book or favorite hobby, talk to other parents going through the same process, vent to others, be positive, accept what you can’t control, don’t fight, just bulldoze your way through the process, communicate with all that are involved including your partner, don’t choose negative feelings if you can talk it out. Adoption can put spouses on a new kind of emotional roller coaster.
6. Finances of Adoption
The finances of adopting can be very overwhelming in the US when it comes to adoption. The cost of adopting a child in the United States is around $37,000 for a baby. This includes the home study, agency fees, placement fees, paying for the birth, counseling and other expenses not taken into consideration.
People think they are buying a baby, but a family is only paying for all the legalities that go into adopting your new baby. There are also ways that you can raise the money for adoption by taking advantage of grants and loans that are offered to those that qualify. Sometimes employers offer adoption benefits so it doesn’t hurt to ask that question. Some families choose fundraising or crowdfunding that has become popular on the internet.
Parents to be can always ask other families how they were able to afford adoption. There are also many support groups available that have great ideas and can help you talk about how you can afford to adopt. There is also a site called adoption.com to help you with this process.
7. The Day has Arrived!
The time eventually comes when your child and the new baby will come home, so be ready for this to happen. You have to communicate with the birth mother to see how things will go after the birth and in the hospital situation. This may be a hard conversation, but remember to set boundaries and be firm on your part. Here are some things to think about.
The birth mother does not have to have you in the birthing room, she might need the time to herself. Don’t hang around at the hospital unless she invites you, because she just gave up all her rights to this child and probably is feeling tired and overwhelmed. Don’t invite your friends and family members to the hospital unless the birth mother is okay with this decision.
This is her time with her baby until it becomes yours. This is one of the hardest things she will do in life so don’t be selfish and arrogant. Don’t overstay your welcome because she might need some more time with the child.
You will be able to tell and read her silently if she needs space. She needs time to bond with her baby before she gives up her rights as a mother and parent. Never guilt trip a mother into adoption because hormones are different after birth and she still has the right to change her mind.
Watch what you say and until she hands the baby over, it’s hers. You can bring her a small gift and it’s a good idea to get to know her so you know what she likes. Don’t try and buy her with expensive gifts and extra money.
The hospital visit and the birth are very important for everyone in the picture and either this will be a great experience or an overwhelming experience. Talk to her and ask how she wants the day her child is placed with your family to go.
Adoptions that Fail
The worst fear any adoptive parent can have is an adoption that fails and they can happen for many different reasons. First off, the birth parents may decide to keep their child, another family could be picked instead of you for the child, but whatever the reason is, this is an awful experience for the adoptive parents that have been waiting so patiently and have done nothing wrong. Don’t give up though, keep plugging along.
There are many things to wonder about as far as a match that doesn’t work out in the end. The main issue is usually the birth mother changes her mind when she gives birth to her child. There is nothing you can do if she decides not to terminate her rights and this is why you can not try and coerce her, threaten the biological mother or try playing a guilt trip on her.
Here are some ideas that might help you and your partner in case of a failed adoption.
You should still support the birth mother in the decision she made. Keeping in touch might be too difficult for your own emotions, but there is no reason you can’t be happy with her decision and for her new baby.
You and your partner are going to feel like you lost a child so it’s ok to grieve. Don’t feel strange about grieving even though the child was never yours, to begin with, but it’s still hard to go home and see all the baby stuff you and your partner collected, so it’s perfectly natural to grieve. This is a good way to move on, otherwise, you and your partner will be stuck in a negative mode which could affect your relationship as a couple.
Dust yourself off and get back off the ground again. After you feel enough time has passed, keep checking into adoption because you have already been approved so search for another child in need of a home. There is still a child out there waiting for a good home and maybe that child wasn’t right for you but never give up.
Don’t live on fear and worry because failed adoptions are not that common, even though it happens occasionally. These are some of the harder challenges you and your partner have faced in life and now it’s time to learn how to accept the next new and wonderful challenge that comes your way.
You are never alone in the adoption process and there are many people that are experiencing the same things you are. You can rely on the help of the ones before you who have mastered adoption and learn from them. There are forums, message boards, and other adoptive parents to talk to.
Your adoption might not be the same as other and maybe you picked the challenge of a bi-racial or special needs child. This is where your parenting skills will be different and there are forums, adoptive parents and message boards to find out more information and to gain support.
Your child is now a new member of your family even though he or she may be coming from a different ethnic group or have special needs. This child is going to be different from the other children you have so it’s good to look at different resources.
Whatever adoption process you have chosen whether it be open, closed, transracial, bi-racial, or special needs, there will be many new challenges for you and your partner to accomplish and a whole new world for all of you. Like any other parent, you still will experience different emotions and at times sadness, anger, joy, love you name it but parenting is one of the most rewarding occupations in life so welcome your new child with open arms.