Over the years I wavered a lot on my desire to have children. In my 20s I was married and many of my friends were starting to have children. It was then that it hit me like a Mack truck that I too wanted a little person to love, though for some reason pregnancy didn’t greatly appeal to me. As my husband and I started looking into adoption, we learned that there were some age restrictions and other requirements that we did not yet meet. I took some time to think and decided that I could try to become pregnant if a child was the end result. Pregnancy was my second choice, as weird as that may sound. It wasn’t until many complications with my pregnancy, subsequent health issues, and eventual infertility that adoption became my only option if I wanted a second child.

Everyone’s story is different, and if you find yourself considering adoption as a way to grow your family, how do you decide if it is right for you? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. What is your motivation to adopt?

Are you infertile? Of advanced age? Single? In an LGBT relationship? Do you have some genetic or other health issues that are a concern? Or no desire to experience pregnancy? All of these and more are common reasons that lead people to adoption. If you are looking to adoption to save a child from a life you deem unsavory or looking for a good deed to do, adoption is probably not the best bet. You can pick a charity, but a child is a forever addition to your family.

2. If infertility or health concerns lead you to adoption, have you grieved and moved past that loss?

Some people suffer many miscarriages while others are never able to conceive. It can be a devastating loss for people who desperately want children. If you are plagued by infertility, have you recovered from the emotional turmoil you have experienced and are you at peace with the fact that adopting means choosing a different path to parenthood?

3. Financial toll.

Even if you haven’t spent all your savings on fertility treatments, adoption can be an expensive route. No matter what adoption route you take—domestic, international, public, or private—adoption comes with hefty expenses. Be prepared for some sticker shock and long-term, unexpected costs associated with it. Do your research and financially plan for adoption.

4. It takes time.

Just like getting pregnant, you don’t know how quick or long it will take to get matched or have a placement. It could be days or it could be years. In addition to waiting for the right match, there will be stacks of paperwork, many home visits, bundles of training, meetings, travel, and court dates. Prepare yourself for the time and dedication you will need to put into the adoption process.

5. Are you willing to learn?

Adoption is one of those things that you may think you understand, but then the rose-colored glasses come off and you learn there is so much more wrapped into adoption that you never had any inkling of. If you are open-minded and willing to throw all those preconceived notions out the window and learn about modern adoption, then you will be one step ahead!

Adoption comes with a variety of options, considerations, and obstacles. If you are ready to dive in to a new world and way of thinking, adoption could be an option for growing your family. While these are just some of the initial questions to ask yourself before pursing adoption, you will be well on your way to determining if it is right for you.