Adoption - Where To Start
You are smart enough to know getting an education about adoption is your best first step. Bill Cosby once said “Once a parent, always a parent” and nothing could be more true. Adoption, like giving birth to a biological child, is a lifetime commitment, but you know that.
The reasons for choosing adoption are as many as the number of people wanting to adopt. Some people have always had an envy for adopted people all of their lives. There seems to be something special about people choosing who is going to be their child. There is also something special about a child who has been chosen. Surely it is an amazing concept, providing love for and committing to a deserving child who otherwise wouldn’t have that type of love and commitment.
Although individuals or couples have decided to adopt, it doesn’t mean they understand all that is involved both prior to adoption - and for the remainder of their lives. Is there ever going to be a time when the adoptive parent has issues with not being the biological parent? How do the parents deal with the child who may develop concerns about being adopted? How does the adoptive parent bring up the subject with the child and when? If and when the child wants to know about their life before the adoption, how does the parent handle that? Where do you go to get that kind of information? What does the parent do if that information is not pleasant? Many children up for adoption do come from troubled beginnings. If the child is from a birth parent of a different culture, how does the adoptive parent help the child maintain a connection with their heritage when perhaps the adoptive parent is completely foreign to that culture? What all is involved and where does the adoptive parent go for help cultivating familiarity with an unknown culture? The point is, there can be much more to being an adoptive parent than just good parenting skills. Many resources are available online, but each locale will have different organizations available. Doing your homework about much more than just the legal process, prior to getting involved, is essential.
You need to know before starting the process legally that there will be a transition period once the adoption is complete. The adoptive parent will need to learn the child’s daily routine up to the point of adoption and make any lifestyle changes gradually. The child may bring emotional issues, due to programming in whatever institutional environment they have been living in. Learning may be problematic. Developmental issues may come up. For the child to trust the family unit, or even understand it, may take some time. All of the family members have to make a commitment to the new addition. The family will almost have to learn to be a family all over again, because the dynamics have changed. Will the rest of the family be alright with the attention paid to the new human in their lives?
So continue with your pre-adoption education. Get out your pad of paper and a pen. Start writing down the questions you need answers to. Get the entire family involved. Maybe you will want to start with the Internet. You know there is more information on the adoption process than you can ever digest. Now you know something more important - how to find the questions you need to ask and have answered, before you commit. Yes, the Internet has lots of sites for just that purpose too.
Good luck on your difficult and praiseworthy journey.