So, you think you want to adopt, eh? Step right up! This one article will tell you everything you need to know.

And if you buy that, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

OK, I’ll stop with the sarcasm.

Seriously, you want to know what you can do to adopt “someday”? I can think of five things. And one thing you should never, ever do.

The one thing you should never, ever do? Post this on a public forum:

“I know I want to adopt someday. What should I do prepare for that?”

Why not?

Because if you do, you will get the following responses:

-Three people will tell you that adoption is a traumatizing event, and you should read The Primal Wound.

-Two people will tell you that you should use your money to keep families intact instead.

-Five people will start an argument with the people who posted the above statements.

-17 people will tell you to adopt from foster care. “It’s free!”

-One person will argue with those 17 people and say no one should adopt from foster care because it’s free.

-22 people will each tell you his or her entire adoption story.

-Eight people will post “Put it in God’s hands.”

-Ten people will post, “No advice, but good luck!”

-Four people will actually give you decent advice.

(Note: Actual numbers depend on the size of the group.)

Adoption forums are the worst for total newbies. It’s like all the current members are vampires and we can smell the human on the baseball field. So I’m going to give you the advice I imagine the four helpful people would give you. Ready?

1. Consider your motives.

First, consider WHY you want to adopt. Do you know for certain that you cannot have biological children? Do you have a reason to believe that it will be difficult for you to have biological children? Do you simply never want to have biological children? Do you feel called by a higher power to adopt? Do you envision having biological children and adopted children? Do you just think that so many children need homes, and adoption sounds peachy?

You need to know, going into this, that adoption is not about saving children. It’s not like you can go to a hospital and pick up an abandoned baby, or visit Malawi and pick up a kid at an orphanage (unless you’re Madonna). Your motives matter. And if you’re just enamored with the idea of adoption, that may change as you take step number 2 . . .

2. Research.

I recommend starting with an actual book, Is Adoption for You? by Colleen Adamec. It’s a great read, short, and incredibly useful. That should give you an idea of whether you want to continue on this path. Spend some time researching adoption as a concept, and include multiple sources of information. If you use online forums, read, don’t post. Just absorb information. You should discover that adoption is not all happiness and light, not all rainbows and unicorns. Adoption is hard. Adoption is complicated. Adoption is awesome and heartbreaking.

3. Research. 

No, this is not a duplicate. The first round of research was about adoption in general. In this round, research the method of adoption that you think best suits you. Now, you can venture into online forums and ask specific questions.

4. Save your money. 

Both private domestic infant adoption and international adoption are very expensive. Fundraising is controversial – as are many subjects in adoption. But the people who decry crowdfunding as tacky are often perfectly okay with people opening an etsy shop or hosting a semi-annual yard sale. There’s also this idea, which I am stealing from a forum from an unknown poster: Find out how much child care costs in your area. Put that amount of money in the bank every month. If you don’t plan on spending money on child care, put aside what you’d spend on diapers and formula. You can save a tidy sum without a major decrease in your quality of life.

5. Keep an open mind.

As John Lennon once sang, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” People change. New information comes to light. Entire countries may close or slow down their adoption programs. And that’s just the external stuff. The longer I’ve been involved in the adoption community, the more I’ve been able to learn from the wide variety of people in it. By keeping an open mind, I’ve been able to refine my opinions and sometimes change them entirely. Tunnel vision is not going to help you on this journey.

Are you ready to adopt? Have you decided that domestic infant adoption is right for you? Connect with an experienced, compassionate adoption professional by clicking here