One of the most significant steps you will take is to establish your general attitudes and philosophies about adoption. This will provide the foundation for the entire adoption experience and the framework that will guide you through contact with placing or expectant parents, adoption professionals, and others you will encounter in your journey through the adoption process.
It is important to remember that adoptive parents are a resource for children who cannot, for whatever reason, remain within their biological families, not the other way around. Adoption is a wonderful option for both children and parents when your desired goal is to parent and provide a loving, permanent home for children who need one, and not just to adopt a particular, narrow type of child, in a very narrow and restricted way. This can unnecessarily restrict your creativity, your thinking, your options, and your chances to become fulfilled and satisfied as an adoptive family.
It is a well-established principle that when we fail to plan, we are also planning to fail. This principle has no more fertile soil for its application than here in the area of adoption. If you become actively involved in the building of your family through adoption, you are far more likely to achieve that goal than you would be if no goals were ever set. So, set your goal, and then go out and make it happen.
These are some of the things you may want to consider when formulating and putting in writing a long-term family plan, including how adoption will be used to help build your family:
- Especially at the beginning, the journey will be far more important than the destination. After all, adopting is a process, and adoption is a lifelong process – they are not just events.
- Adoption will not just bridge the gap between important parts of your life; it will change your life forever, adding depth and dimension that you may not even be able to imagine at this point in time.
- If we look at the nine-month process that is involved when biological children come to their parents, it is easier for us to appreciate how it may be beneficial for adopting parents to also “wait” for a period of time for the arrival of their child/children. While they are waiting, they will have time to better prepare themselves for the arrival.
- As part of the learning process, it is a common occurrence for those new to adoption to start out with narrow expectations of the child they want to adopt, and then to expand their views as the education process proceeds. Experienced adoptive families have found it important for those starting the process to resist the temptation to quickly narrow the group of adoptable children that they would be willing to consider. You may find that you can be very fulfilled as parents by adopting a child other than one you initially thought would be the only type of child you would consider.
- Don’t overlook the possibility of adopting more than one child. Many prospective adopters don’t even consider the fact that they can do this, or they don’t include it in a family plan simply because they’re so focused on the idea of “at least” one child.