Although exact statistics are hard to pin down, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption reports that 48% of their sample of non-adoptive parents aged 18-34 have considered adopting a child. Here is one adoptive mama’s advice for those young adults who are considering adoption at some point in the future:
1. Research your options
So you’re interested in building your family through adoption? Great! There are many options when it comes to the type of adoption you may want to pursue. Investigate them all so you can make an informed choice. A quick Internet search and a trip to your local library are good places to start. Friends or acquaintances who have adopted are other valuable resources. Research the options available to you and think about which type of adoption fits your situation best.
2. Rally your tribe
Not everyone in your life will likely support your decision to adopt, at least at first. There may be questions and reservations. That’s ok. Find the family members and close friends who will give their unconditional support and hold them close. Think about the details of your adoption journey and don’t feel like you “need” to share all of them with everyone in your life. It’s fine to give general answers to most folks and save the details for the tribe that you trust.
3. Learn all you can
Read about attachment and bonding. Read about open adoption relationships. Read about the effects of early trauma. Read everything you can get your hands on adoption-related issues. If you’re not sure where to start, Adoption.com has many articles. Talk to members of the adoption triad (adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents). Talk to professionals at your adoption agency. Make lists of questions, then ask them all.
4. Find professionals to help
Becoming an adoptive parent is not a solitary endeavor. You will need adoption-competent professionals to help once your child is home. If you can, start interviewing and connecting with these folks early in the journey. Think about doctors, dentists, and therapists as well as daycare and/or respite providers and faith community leaders who may be able to help. Fellow adoptive parents can often provide a wealth of information about these community resources.
5. Know the benefits to which you are entitled
Consider talking to your human resources department to see what benefits your employer may provide throughout the adoption process. Learn what steps you will need to take to make sure that your child has insurance coverage once she is home. Think about whether you will take leave from employment during the initial adjustment to parenthood.
6. Take just one step
Probably my best piece of advice for folks who are thinking about adopting “one day” is to take just one step. The adoption journey can be long and tedious but do just one thing today to make it concrete. Make one phone call. Read one blog post. Check out one adoption book. Talk to one member of the adoption triad. Put one informational meeting on your calendar. Do just one thing to make today one step closer to “one day.”
Adoptive parents, what would you add? What advice do you have for young adults considering adoption? What was the most helpful advice you received during your adoption journey?
Are you and your partner ready to start the adoption process? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to begin your adoption journey. We have 130+ years of adoption experience and would love to help you.