Are we ready?
Are you and your partner equally willing to pursue adoption? Often one partner will begin this process more zealous or passionate than the other but it’s important to move past that point before pursuing adoption. If there’s a gap in your levels of readiness, don’t pressure your partner. Spend time talking, thinking and praying together and individually about it. Often doing some research to dispel common myths and fears helps a more hesitant partner gain confidence and direction.
What type of child are we prepared to parent?
Assess your strengths and weaknesses honestly in light of adoption and decide what type of child you feel you are best prepared to parent. Is there a certain age group, gender or cultural background you are more drawn to? Consider expanding your skill set through research, interaction with adoptive families, or volunteering at a school, church, etc. It’s important to be honest about your capabilities and also be willing to open your heart and mind to new challenges, experiences, etc. It’s also a good idea to identify what expectations you have surrounding an adoption and recognize they may or may not be accurate.
Are you willing to maintain any type of openness in adoption? Are you willing to be in contact physically or through email or cards with a child’s biological parents, grandparents, siblings, etc? What about a child’s foster family or school friends? It’s important to consider this issue and spend some time thinking carefully about how you feel about the people in an adoptive child’s past. Openness is a big discussion topic in adoption today so you will need to be prepared to address this issue.
Have we developed a good relationship with the professionals who will be facilitating and guiding us through our adoption?
It’s important to trust the professionals who will be working alongside you in your adoption process. Make sure you have asked any questions that may be lingering in your mind and taken the time to express your feelings about this change you are considering. Being honest can be a very vulnerable feeling but it’s important for your social worker to understand who you are as a family and what it is that is driving your decision to adopt. The more your professionals understand you and your family the better equipped they are to guide you through the process toward adoption.
What changes are we willing to see happen in our family?
Inevitable there will be changes if you decide to bring a new child into your family through adoption. Spend some time thinking about what those changes might be and how you feel about them. Also spend some time thinking about what changes you are not willing to make. Identifying the areas where you are flexible and the areas where you are not is helpful in guiding you toward whether or not adoption is right for your family. It will also help you identify what type of child you are best equipped to parent. For example, are you willing to buy a bigger home, bigger vehicle or renovate your home to accommodate a child? Are you willing to change or let go of important traditions in your family? Are you willing to adopt out of birth order? Are you willing to have your child share a bedroom? Are you willing to change your diet to accommodate a child with food sensitivities or medical needs? Would you be willing to travel overseas? Are you financially able to adopt in the way you prefer? All of these questions will prepare your mind and heart for adoption.
Ultimately, remember that God has a way of preparing our hearts and minds for whatever He has in store for us. Pray for a tender heart that is surrendered to His plans for your family in regards to adoption. Pray that He will equip you with the wisdom, love and skills that you will need to parent your new child.
You are promised only grace enough for one day at a time.