As the New Year approaches, many people take the opportunity to reflect on the past year and set goals for the future. For some, this may include adding adoption to their resolution list.
Adopting a child is a life-changing decision, one that requires a great deal of thought and preparation. The adoption process can be an emotional roller coaster, testing your strength, patience, and resilience as you navigate the ups and downs. If you’re considering adoption as a goal this year, it’s important to take the time to get yourself into the best possible position for the journey. Here are a few steps you can take:
- Do your research: It is so important to do your due diligence to better understand the complexity of adoption. While yes, adoption can be a beautiful way to grow your family, adoption is also rooted in trauma. The trauma of the birth parent’s grief and loss of their child and the child’s heartbreak that comes with being disconnected from their biological family. Take the time to seek the voices of birth parents who placed their child for adoption, parents who considered placing their child for adoption but choose to parent, and youth and adult adoptees. Some wonderful voices to seek include (but are not limited to) Ashley Mitchell: @bigtoughgirl, Dr. Taylor: @theardentadoptee, Jess: @mymissjess, Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard: @fromanothamotha, and Torie DiMartile: @wreckageandwonder.
- Have the tough conversations: The importance of open lines of communication throughout the adoption process cannot be stressed enough. If you are adopting with a spouse, get ready to have some uncomfortable conversations with each other! If you are adopting as a single parent, consider having these conversations with your close family and friends. Be honest about your thoughts and feelings throughout the journey. Consider your motivations to adopt. If your path to adoption included infertility, have you taken the time to grieve the imagined future you had for your family? Adoption requires that you fully understand the child you are able to welcome into your home (the age, race/ethnicity, birth parent drug use, and familial mental and physical health history, etc.). You will need to have lots of conversations about what your family is ready for. To learn more about determining your adoption preferences, read this article we wrote.
- Start saving: Preparing financially for adoption is essential. Adoption can be a significant financial undertaking (we are seeing the average adoption expenses totaling around $42,000 but has been increasing steadily in recent years. In many cases, more than half of the funds are due at the time of a match, with the rest due before the birth of the child. Therefore, it’s important to have at least some money saved ahead of time. Some of the expenses you may incur during the adoption process include agency fees, legal fees, travel costs, and post-placement expenses. It’s a good idea to create a budget and start saving as early as possible to ensure that you have the financial resources to cover these costs. If you do not have a fully funded adoption savings account, you can start considering ways to get more financially prepared. We wrote a blog post about the pros and cons of fundraising for your adoption journey, you can read it by clicking here. There are also grant opportunities available to some families, but it is important to note that grants may only small portion of the overall costs, and you may not know what grants you’ll receive at the time you are determining what cases to present to. You can also research financing options, such as loans, to help offset the costs of adoption. By taking the time to prepare financially, you can set yourself up for success and be better prepared to handle the financial challenges of the adoption journey.
- Get your support system in place: Having a network of support to help you navigate the ups and downs of the adoption process is so important. Your support system may include friends, family, therapists, and other professionals who can provide emotional and practical support throughout the process. They can help you cope with the stresses and challenges of the adoption journey, and can provide a sense of connection and belonging during the times you may feel isolated or overwhelmed. A support system can also offer guidance and advice and can help you make informed decisions about your adoption journey. Keep in mind that not everyone in your life will know how to support you during this process. Adoption is complicated and nuanced. Consider providing your friends and family with educational resources to help them better understand the adoption process. Our Learn Page is full of easy-to-read resources that you can share. The book “In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You To Know About Adoption. A Guide for Relatives and Friends.” by Elisabeth O’Toole can be a great gift to give those closest to you.
- Think about who you are as a family: A profile book is a vital tool in the adoption process as it helps expectant parents better understand who you are and what life will look like for a child who joins your family. To prepare for creating your profile book you will need to consider how you want to present yourself and your family. Start gathering photos that showcase you, your pets, your friends and family, and your home. Include candid shots that capture your daily life and activities. They do not all need to be professional photos but all should be high quality and large file sizes. Consider writing a family motto and making a list of what makes your family unique. Remember to be honest and genuine, and to focus on what makes your family special and why you may be the right fit for a child. A well-crafted profile book can make all the difference in the adoption process and help you find the perfect match for your family. You can read more about the all-important profile book here.
Adoption involves a variety of legal, financial, emotional, and practical considerations that make it a complex and multifaceted process. However, of course, the rewards of adoption are immeasurable. This journey requires thought, preparation, and support to ensure success. It will be an emotional roller coaster, testing your strength, patience, and resilience. To prepare for this journey, it’s important to seek out resources and support to help along the way.
As you embark on your adoption journey, you may consider seeking out professional support to help you strategize and navigate the process. Hiring an advisor with Purl Adoption Advisory can be a valuable resource, as we have the experience and expertise to help you plan and prepare for the journey ahead. We can provide guidance and support, helping you make informed decisions and stay on track as you work towards your goal of growing your family through adoption. We offer a range of services to help you navigate the complexities of the adoption process, including identifying ethical adoption professionals, creating a relatable profile book, providing monthly education coaching calls on various adoption-related topics, financial planning, and practical advice. Consider reaching out to Purl Adoption Advisory for support as you embark on your adoption journey.