Adoption is a transformative experience for a child and for parents. It’s a lifelong commitment that changes how parents feel about the world and each other. Before diving into the adoption process, it is vital for parents to consider their current situation and ask themselves some tough questions about the upcoming journey. Nonprofit organization BCFS Health and Human Services RSD offers advice for parents embarking on the wonderful adoption journey. The organization provides educational services, shelter, and care for neglected children at the local, regional, and national level. It works with thousands of children in foster care, orphaned situations, and those currently available for adoption.
New parents considering adoption are sometimes taken aback by the length of the process, the potential expenses, and the red tape involved. However, RSD encourages parents to consider how momentous a decision it is to adopt a child, and the need for a longer process that helps ensure parents are fully committed to the child. An initial step recommended by the organization is for parents to enter a period of self-reflection. They should consider why exactly they want to adopt and be certain their reasons will result in the best outcomes for the child. Adoption brings considerable stress to a family, so parents can consider pre-adoption counseling that can prepare them for such a life change. This counseling can give them strategies to reduce anxiety and help prepare their household and new child for a fruitful life going forward.
Adoptions in the United States are completed through either adoption agencies or private attorneys. Both options involve considerable costs. Agencies handle more of the paperwork and procedural aspects of the adoption, while attorney adoptions are best for parents that want to be more involved in those parts of the process. The foster child system is also a route many parents take for adoption. There are several hundred thousand kids in U.S. foster care facilities, and many of these are open for adoption. Parents that proceed with a foster child adoption will need specialized training sessions that will give them the tools they need to handle any special challenges.
As parents learn more about adoption, RSD suggests they narrow down the specific child they are hoping to adopt. Some parents only want to adopt an infant or toddler. Others might be open to an older child or even to adopting two (or more) siblings at the same time. In either case, it’s beneficial for parents to spend time thinking about their preferences and concerns so they’re on the same page with each other and can provide the most welcoming possible home to their adopted child.