Parents considering adoption are embarking on a complex yet immensely fulfilling journey. They’re overcome with the excitement and emotion of adoption and can’t wait to bring a child into their homes. New parents are often surprised by the amount of time and effort that goes into the adoption process. They’re eager to learn as much as they can, but often unsure where to start. BCFS Health and Human Services (RSD)an organization that provides foster care and adoption services, offers some invaluable advice for parents to consider before beginning the adoption process.
The organization’s first suggested step for parents is to engage in a period of self-reflection. This involves asking some questions to ensure they are ready for the responsibilities of parenting and are adopting a child for the right reasons. Parents are encouraged to think about the ways a child will impact their social and financial situation, as well as their personal relationship. RSD suggests parents accept that adoption and parenting is never perfect, and the best approach is to always provide the child with unconditional love and support. Parents also need to evaluate their support networks and consider who they can rely on for help with the child as needed.
U.S.-based adoptions occur either through adoption agencies or with a private attorney, the latter of which is known as an “independent” adoption. With an agency, parents have a partner that can handle many of the details and paperwork of an adoption. Independent adoptions are better suited for parents that want more control over the process. Foster child adoption is another option for parents, one that provides a home for one of the several hundred thousand children in the foster care system. RSD counsels parents looking to adopt a foster child to understand the unique challenges that can occur, especially when adopting older children. Parents adopting a foster child must complete mandated training sessions and achieve certifications which offer guidance on acclimating the child to an unfamiliar home.
BCFS Health and Human Services RSD suggests parents that have committed to the adoption process then begin asking themselves a new set of questions. This includes narrowing down the type of child they ideally want to adopt. Are they only looking for an infant? What about a child of a different race than the adoptive parents? Is adopting a sibling or an older child an option? The organization suggests parents carefully consider if they’re emotionally and financially able to adopt special needs children or those that have experienced drug or alcohol exposure. RSD offers support for thousands of families and encourages parents to make informed decisions before they embark on the challenging yet rewarding process of adoption.