6 Things to Consider While Checking Boxes on Your Adoption Application

You get asked a lot of hard questions when you're preparing to adopt.

Shelley Skuster June 05, 2016

A friend of mine and her husband are waiting for their first adoption placement. They’ve been combing through different situations and having hard conversations about what they’re comfortable with when it comes to deciding whether to present their adoption profile to expectant parents.

“Can we handle drug exposure if it lends itself to long-term consequences?”

“What would an open or closed adoption look like for our family?”

“What races should we consider based on our lifestyle and community?”

These are all important questions to consider. If you’re in a similar position, here are six tips to help guide your decisions when it comes to checking boxes on your adoption application.

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Be on the same page as your partner.
1. Be on the same page as your partner.

If you’re adopting as a couple or already have a family unit in place, make sure you’re on the same page before presenting and opening your heart to an expectant parent. If one of you isn’t completely on board with adopting a child with special needs or a child of a different race, it may be a good idea to step back and have some conversations before moving forward.

Remember there are no guarantees.
2. Remember there are no guarantees.

Health concerns can come up with your child regardless of how s/he comes to you. Whether your child enters your family via adoption or biology, there are no guarantees for a perfect medical record nor can anyone predict what the future holds with their health and development.

Examine your lifestyle.
3. Examine your lifestyle.

If you’re wondering about whether to be open to adopting a child of a different race or nationality, it’s important to examine your lifestyle. Becoming a transracial family can be a complex decision. Take some time to evaluate how diverse your community, workplace and circle of friends are. Are you willing to provide opportunities for your child to embrace their culture and see others who look like him/her, and how easy would it be to provide such opportunities?

Talk with your support system.
4. Talk with your support system.

Depending on what you’re open to, people may not understand your fears with becoming a parent. You may have specific anxiety about drug exposure or trauma that other people in your support system don’t quite understand. Don’t feel like you have to share personal details about each situation with them, but try to reach out to find other people with commonalities. You’ll be glad to have other adoptive parents with similar experiences in your corner to consult along the way.

Be willing to love unconditionally.
5. Be willing to love unconditionally.

As parents, it’s important to commit to loving your child unconditionally, no matter how they come to you and what circumstances may arise from his or her familial history. Be willing to love your child unconditionally and put their needs – whatever they may be – above your own.

Do your research.
6. Do your research.

Before presenting to an expectant parent, consider the complexities of becoming a transracial family, research how specific drug exposures or trauma may impact a child’s learning abilities and look into the genetic effects of certain mental health diagnoses.

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Shelley Skuster

Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She's a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She's the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes and she can also be found on facebook and twitter as ShelleySkuster.

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