Couples who decide to adopt a child become a beacon of hope for the thousands of children in foster care across the nation. But when you decide to adopt, you will also need to gather all the courage, patience, and love you can from within yourself. A roller coaster ride of emotions will begin as soon as you embark on the adoption process. There will be times when you will become frustrated. There will also be tremendous joy and love. During the dark moments, you will have to desperately cling to the happy times you've had with your children and rely on the advice of a support system.
The trauma and pain that your adopted child has faced and might possibly continue to face will not ease with a few cuddles. If you imagine your adopted foster child running into your arms on the first day, you're far away from the truth. The road to acceptance and healing will be a long and difficult one, and merely giving the child a different environment with new clothes and good food will not work wonders. You need to understand before you adopt a child that having a loving, happy family with them is not impossible, but definitely challenging. There are some hard truths that might make you think twice about your decision; but if you still want to give a foster child the opportunity for a new life, don't let this deter you.
16 More Than Your Child
You will need to understand and embrace the losses that your foster child has faced, but that won't be enough. You will realize that you need to expand your adoption to the losses of the child's birth family and be understanding about issues concerning the adoption community in general.
15 Accept the Other Mother
You might give your adopted child a dream life to the best of your maternal instincts and abilities. You might give them everything they need to lead a comfortable life and shower your love on them endlessly. You will still need to come to terms with the fact that for your child, their birth mother will always be equally important. They will love you and might try their best to form a wonderful bond with you, but their love of the mother who birthed them may not necessarily diminish. Any attempts on your part to establish even the slightest superiority over the other mother will only end up hurting your child more than you can imagine.
14 Prepare for Thorough Investigation
The element of mistrust is quite strong in the entire process of adoption. In the case of your biological child, you're free to be as efficient or careless as you wish. No one will check up on your abilities or your house. However, in the case of adoption, there will be thorough, regular checks by a social worker to investigate how ready you are for adoption.
13 Leave Your Ego Behind
You will need to be prepared to share your child's love with another family. Your child is likely to share happy or sad memories of the other family, and you might often sense their desire to spend time with them despite all the love and understanding you shower on the child. You cannot be possessive of this child. You will need to let go and have faith in your love. You will also need to be patient with the complexity of your relationship with the child.
12 Your Child’s Heritage
Even if your adopted baby has a perfectly normal childhood in your care, they might fantasize about their birth family and make stories around it. This might hurt you at times, but you have to understand that in the entire process of loss and adoption, the child's consent was not in the picture. They did not have the power to control losing their birth mother nor did they make a conscious decision of moving in with you. At times, your child might fear never finding their true parents. This should not disappoint you or in any way diminish how much you care for them.
11 Adoption Will Be Expensive
10 You need to be aware of the nuances in advance. It might be more expensive to adopt a girl than a boy. Adopting a White child could possibly cost much more than adopting a Black child. The reality is that White children are fewer in number in foster homes, and Black kids are difficult to place despite the lower expense involved. This is one of the sad truths of adoption.
9 Depression After the Adoption
The chances of facing post-adoption depression are not high, but they are not very low either. This is a real challenge couples face, similar to the problem of postpartum depression. It is important to read about it, know the symptoms and have a plan for dealing with it if it hits you.
8 You Might Need to Ditch Your Dreams
Your adopted child will realize at some point that you had hopes pinned to a biological child and they're basically your second choice to whom the hopes and dreams have been moved. This might put a burden on them, and the slightest failure in proving themselves can cause a lot of damage to their sense of being and their opinion of themselves. It is best, therefore, that with your new child, you start with a clean slate. Accept them for what they are, and don't let them kill themselves in trying to match up to your expectations.
7 Adoption by Homosexuals
The laws concerning adoption are different in different states of the nation. In Utah and Mississippi, however, there is a ban on adoption by gay couples.
6 When White Parents Adopt Black Children
There are associations that vehemently oppose adoptions that are transracial. It is often believed that White parents cannot fully understand the needs of Black children and such adoptions are widely disapproved. There is also talk about Black children being deprived of their background through these adoptions. Those who support such adoptions believe that children adjust well to White families and their problems are not any different than other kids.
5 Adoption Will Be on Your Mind
If you believe that you will have the crucial talk with your adopted child, and then both of you will be able to come to terms with the situation and move on, you are sadly mistaken. You will not bring home just an adopted child, you will also bring their history, which could comprise abuse, alcoholism, abandonment and numerous other challenges. You will need to consider this aspect of your child's life and accept relevant parenting techniques throughout your own life.
4 Adapting to Another Family
Your child's birth culture could be quite different than your own. Adapting to it, along with accepting the birth family not just physically, but also emotionally will be very difficult. You will still need to do it as it will be a key element in shaping your child's personality.
3 Include the Birth Family
It is quite likely that your child is disappointed after the reunion that they have been dreaming of all their lives. Your child will once again live the trauma of not being special to their parents, of being a burden that needed to be passed on to others, and the reunion might initially leave them feeling hollow within. Your support will be most important during this time, and you will need to set aside your own needs for this.
2 Be Prepared for Advice
Some people will ask you too many questions. Others will offer unsolicited advice. You might get tired of all the probing in your family's personal matters. The best way is to be prepared with a plan to deal with this stuff. You will need to protect your child from all this. People might not respect your decision or your privacy, you will have to learn to ignore them or sensitize them on adoption.
1 Join a Support Group
You might have a lot of questions in the beginning, and you will need a support system to lean on during the dark times. Sharing your experiences with other parents who have also adopted children will be very enriching. Your adopted child might also find it easier to make friends with the children of these parents. It will help them escape isolation and they will feel more understood around these people than with anyone else. You can create a community through social media channels if there isn't one already present in your area. You will benefit greatly from the discussions that take place here.