You sit across the table from each other, smiles on your faces, excited for the future. You’ve done it! Together, you’ve not only decided that you will adopt a baby, but you are truly ready and excited for the journey. Sure, you’re a little niave—I mean, you’ve never done this before—but more than anything, your hearts are swelling with eager anticipation for the day your family will be made “whole” or complete.
So, what do you do now?
You sit across the table from each other, wondering what your next step is. You’ve talked about adoption, but you still want to know more. You like to have a plan and you want to know exactly what you’re getting into. How do you make a decision like adoption without having ALL the information?
What do you do now?
Whether scenario 1 or scenario 2 applies to you, the ABA Consumer Guide to Adopting a Child is a great resource. There are so many adoption books out there, all with their own value. I’ve enjoyed reading people’s personal experiences, sharing both the heartache and beauty of adoption. Those books give me the heart of adoption and I love that. I feel connected and it confirms that adoption is right for our family. This consumer guide, however, is truly a step-by-step resource that can paint a picture of what adoption looks like on paper, which I feel is equally important. Those heartfelt stories would never be there for me to read had those involved not followed what needed to be done legally.
I read this book after having adopted 3 children. Each experience was unique and full of wonder—also filled with its own challenges specifically pertaining to that individual adoption situation. Yet, as I read this book, I found it to be very accurate in explaining the necessary steps along the adoption process that we took for all 3 of those adoptions, from the first steps of completing a home study to the “end” when finalization occurs. The guide was thorough, covering things that I remember having questions about when we first began eight years ago.
Not only does this book offer a checklist of sorts of what legally needs to be done in order to be adoption ready and to finalize an adoption placement, it is filled with what I call “good to know” information. The legal stuff is “need to know.” But what about issues like adoption scams? Or what will happen when an expectant mother, who has chosen you, goes into labor? What happens at the hospital? As adoptive families, we know there are no definitive answers to these situations because it truly is case by case, but the book covers these things, offering some really good general information so that you can feel a little more prepared. What they share is all very practical and, in my experience, true.
As I read this book, it was clear that the writers were experienced in working with families to help them adopt. They shared their experiences within their own agency without me feeling like it was a big promotional stunt. I appreciated that. It was written in a very conversational tone and was easy to read and follow along. Overall I felt that the author tried to share all sides of adoption, but it was clear this was written specifically for the prospective adoptive parent and not an expectant mother considering adoption. I admit to being overly sensitive about some things, and there were times when I felt that there were over-generalizations made about birth parents. With that said, I feel those statements (regarding drug exposure, birth fathers involvement, birth mothers’ habits and lifestyles, “birth mothers” who run adoption scams, etc) were given discussion and not just blanket statements made here and there. It was clear that this was based on their professional experience and I believe there would be many other professionals who may be able to say the exact same thing as a realistic warning to prospective adoptive parents. And as a new prospective adoptive parent, this is all enlightening and good to know so you can go in with your eyes wide open.
Would I suggest this book to a friend considering adoption? Absolutely. In fact, I already have. It’s clear, concise, and gives an excellent overview of what it’s all about. I wish I had had this book eight years ago so I wouldn’t have felt like we moved through the process so blindly. It all worked out, but I would have appreciated the “What to Expect” version for adoption before beginning. This consumer guide is the perfect place to start once you’ve decided to adopt . . . or if you’re just deciding to decide.
You can get the book here.