I’ve read your blog for a long time, and I love your adoption story. But one question I have for you, as my husband and I are starting to explore domestic adoption is, how did you know that adoption was right for your family? What were some of the key things you remember that solidified your choice to adopt?
Deciding to adopt is a deeply personal decision, and there is no perfect flow-chart or decision tree that applies to everyone.
However, here are some questions to ask yourself as you contemplate adoption:
What are my motivations for adopting?
Do you want to adopt because you think it is the charitable thing to do? Do you want to adopt in order to save a child? While compassion is sometimes a motivator in adoption, it can’t be the driving force. You can only “save” a child once . . . after that it’s just parenting. You should adopt because you want to add a new child to the family. If you want to help “save orphans” there are other ways to help. Adoption is about becoming a parent. It’s not charity. Don’t adopt out of a feeling of obligation.
Have I researched the unique needs that adopted children may have?
If you are adopting a child who has spent time in an orphanage or foster home, have you done your research on attachment? If you are adopting a newborn, have you read up on the potential loss and grief your child may feel? Make sure you understand and feel equipped to address some of the emotional and behavioral issues that can arise with children from hard places.
Have I listened to adult adoptees?
Have you taken some time to hear about adoption perspectives from people who have lived it? The book In Their Own Voices is a good place to start.
Am I open to extending my family circle to include people from my child’s birth family?
When you adopt, you widen your circle, and that’s not just about the child. Are you willing to cultivate a relationship with your child’s birth parents and birth siblings?
Do I have the cultural competency to adopt a child of another race? Is my community diverse enough to prevent a minority child from feeling isolated?
If you are considering transracial adoption, make sure that you live in an environment that can support a healthy racial identity for your child . . . where your child can see role models of their own race. If you take stock of your family, friends circle, church, and neighborhood, consider if there are other minorities. If not, you need to adjust your life BEFORE you adopt.
Are my spouse and I on the same page?
It’s very common for one person to initially be more invested in the idea of adoption that the other, but you also want to be sure that one of you isn’t dragging the other into a situation that could backfire. You both need to be on board.
In addition to the adoption-specific questions, you also want to be asking yourself the same questions you would if you were going to add a biological children . . . do we have the space, time, emotional energy, and finances to support another child?
Adoption has been a huge blessing to our family, but I don’t believe that adoption is for everyone.
Take the time to make sure you are well-informed about adoption. and then do diligence to research ethics as well. Put yourself in online and real-life groups with other adoptive parents and adoptees and become a student . . . that’s really the best way to be informed.
Best of luck to you on this journey!