Important Question to Ask Before You Adopt
There’s no doubt that choosing to adopt a child is not an easy decision nor one to take lightly. However, how do you know if adoption is right for you? Or for your family? And if it is, how do you know when you’re ready to take that next step?
Caroline Bailey, in her article 16 Things to Ask Yourself Before You Adopt (August 2020 adoption.com) shares essential questions to consider before becoming an adoptive parent. We’ve shared a few here:
1. Why are you adopting? While adoption is an incredible experience, it is not easy; thus, understanding your “why” is vital.
2. Have you told anyone about your plan to adopt? Adoption doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Nearly everyone in your circle is affected by it. Telling those close to you about your plan to adopt is one of the many important steps in this process.
3. Are you and your spouse/partner on the same page about adoption? It is not all that uncommon for one spouse to be more cautious about adoption than the other. Bringing children into your home can put a strain on a marriage, so make sure you jumpstart your communication before welcoming your first child.
4. Are you seeking out enough information about trauma-informed care? If you haven’t heard about a trauma-informed approach to parenting, then now is the time to start learning about it. It is so important for prospective adoptive parents to understand that even newborns and infants can experience trauma—whether that is in the womb, a difficult delivery, or in the first few months of life. The exciting news about trauma-informed research is that it shows children can grow, heal, and be restored when being cared for by parents who understand the impact that trauma has.
5. Have you considered the concept that adoption is not about finding a child for your family, but about offering your family to a child? In other words, this isn’t about you… even though it feels that way. All children who have been adopted experience loss – even ones who were adopted as newborns. Parenting, in general, is a sacrifice of self. This is even more exaggerated in adoptive parenting.
6. How do you feel about openness in adoption? What does that look like to you? Research shows that openness in adoption is a key aspect to adoptees feeling trust for their adoptive parents. Openness in adoption is the willingness to put your child’s story ahead of your own. And the truth is, adopted kids have histories that do not include their adoptive parents. The more comfortable you are with that truth, the better you will be at handling your children’s questions and meeting their needs.
See 16 Things to Ask Yourself Before You Adopt for the full list.