There’s a reason that the person doing your home study might seem a little nosy. Matching children to the right parents is essential. If you’re hoping to adopt, but your motives are not quite right, it could be devastating to a child placed in your care—and to you.

It seems outrageous, but horrible things really do happen. One of those horrible things is re-homing. Sadly, way too often, hopeful parents adopt a child only to decide that the situation isn’t working out. The child is relinquished . . . AGAIN . . . and one can only imagine the trauma and serious psychological damage the child gets heaped upon him/her. To avoid falling into a negative adoption situation that could result in trauma of any kind to the child, ask yourself and your partner the following questions:

  • If you’re choosing adoption because you’re unable to have biological children, finish grieving before beginning the adoption process. Whether there is a genetic reason that causes you to decide to not have children, or whether you’re a victim of infertility, both are causes to grieve. Get through the grieving process and seek to determine the direction you’d like your life to go pretty firmly before jumping right into adoption. As an adoptive mother myself, one who experienced secondary infertility, I can tell you that there is an end to the sadness and an excitement about moving forward to grow a family through adoption. Just please get to that point before proceeding. If you do, you’ll be ready to offer what is best for the child, rather than focusing on what you want for you.
  • Are you prepared to help an already-traumatized child to recover and thrive? If adopting through foster care or internationally, chances are your child will have some issues that will need tender-loving care. Our son was just 5 weeks old when he came to us. We have worked years with him to give him a feeling of security and belonging. And his situation was minor compared to many.
  • Are you prepared to seek counseling for yourself, your adopted child, and your other family members to overcome some of the obstacles that my make adjustment difficult? Are you committed to make this adoption work, just as you would make life with a biological child work?
  • Read this post by adoptive mother Theresa Davis for more questions and thoughts to help you on your path.

For the majority of adoptive parents, just like the majority of parents with biological children, the adoption of a child is a beautiful, sacred experience. The family is better off, and there is great joy associated with this precious event. But just like with biological families, adopted children can test you to your limits. All children do. When you’re prepared with your whole soul to parent the child you are blessed with, the experience will be magical to the degree that you work to make it so.