One of the questions I’m often asked by families considering adoption is, “Where do we even begin?” It can be a bit overwhelming. You’ll notice that nearly every point here begins with “consider.” That’s because there is a great deal to think about!
1 – First, consider your reasons for wanting to adopt. There is no right or wrong, but you have to be brutally honest with yourself so that you head into it realistically. If you go in a direction inconsistent with your reasons for wanting to adopt, it will not go well. Talk to adoptive parents about their experiences, do some research, and PRAY about it!
2 – Talk to your spouse and make sure you’re on the same page about adoption. DO NOT PRESSURE YOUR SPOUSE if he/she is not yet on board with the idea. Parenting is hard, and adoption is hard — so you must keep your marriage the top priority; pushing your spouse into it will NOT accomplish your purposes and will backfire dramatically in the long run. Just don’t do it.
I’ve talked to many, many couples, however, where one spouse wanted to adopt and the other didn’t — but after a whole lot of prayer (not pushing!), in many cases the reluctant spouse became enthusiastic about it. Perhaps the reluctant spouse just needs time to think about it, or has questions. Remember: God’s timing, not your own.
3 – Consider what type of child/children you might like to adopt: Is race an issue? Nationality? What age? Just one child, or siblings? Special needs? This is another time to be brutally honest with yourself, BUT be open to possibilities beyond your “ideal.”
4 – Consider how much of an issue finances would be for your family, or how creative you are willing to be in fundraising. There ARE ways to finance adoption, so don’t rule out the possibility based merely on money. (I’ll address this in another day’s post.)
5 – Based on the answers to those questions above, decide whether to pursue domestic, international, or foster adoption. (More about each of these in another post, too!)
6 – FINALLY: contact the appropriate agency or organization and begin the mountain of paperwork. Remember, at this point there is still plenty of time to change your mind, but filling out the forms and starting any necessary training are great ways to be sure you’re really thinking through the realities.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS? It might take me a while to get back to you, but I’m always willing to answer questions if I can! Leave a comment below, or post on my facebook page, where there are a bunch of wonderful adoptive parents who are also more than willing to help or give advice!