I’ve had several people say to me that they know they want to adopt at some point in the future. That is so exciting to hear!! If adoption is on your heart, you should absolutely listen to that calling. Even if you’re not quite ready yet, there are a few things you can be doing now that could help you be more prepared in the long run.
- Take time to work through your grief. Often (though not always), people turn to adoption after infertility. It is important for your sake, and for the child’s sake, to work through any grief you may have before starting the adoption process. Allow yourself to come to terms with the things you may have always expected or hoped for that you will not have in a child who doesn’t share your genes. It is perfectly normal to be sad that your child won’t have “your eyes” or inherit your husband’s sense of humor. Not allowing yourself to grieve and then move on could place unfair expectations on the child and make the transition harder for you as parents, as well.
- Start saving money. As I talked about in the last post, adoption can be expensive. It’s never too early to start an adoption fund, even if you only contribute to it occasionally. This can help give you that foundation so that once you’re ready to begin the process, you have something in there to help with the up-front costs, like the application and home study fees.
- Begin researching. There are so many great books and websites about adoption (you can check out some of the ones I recommend on my Adoption Resources page here, but there lots of other great options out there, too). Read up on the types of adoption, the steps of the process, the different agencies that are out there, etc. The sheer volume of information on adoption can be overwhelming, so taking the time early on to research can be very helpful.
- Here is a good article on choosing an adoption agency. This site also has a lot of helpful information on the different functions of adoption agencies, as well as a list at the bottom of agencies and which types of adoptions they assist with.
- If you’re considering international adoption, you can start to familiarize yourself with the international adoption process by going here. And here is a good list of accredited agencies. Then research which countries currently allow international adoption here.
- Additionally, if you know of any family members or friends who have gone through the process, talk to them. Ask them what agency they used, what they liked or didn’t like about it, and any advice they have to give.
- Invite your family along for the journey. Gradually introduce the idea of you adopting to your close family. They might also go through a similar grieving process from #1, on a smaller scale. Once they become acclimated to the idea, however, they will likely be very excited and want to be there for you through every step of the process. (Of course, every family is different, and you’ll know better than anyone the best way to approach your own.)
As I’ve said before, everyone’s adoption journey is different. There isn’t an official checklist to know you’re “ready,” but when it’s on your heart and you can’t stop thinking about it, maybe that means it’s time. 🙂