Are you thinking about adoption? Congratulations! Here are some questions to ask yourself as you begin this journey, particularly if you don't have any experience raising children. The following are just a few of many considerations.
How will your personality blend with parenting?
- How well do you (and if you have a spouse, your spouse) maintain your equilibrium and sense of humor when things don't go as planned?
- How flexible and adaptable are you?
- How patient are you?
- How good are you at dealing with conflict?
- Also, how accepting are you of yourself?
When you have children the main thing to expect is the unexpected. Flexibility and humor are two of the most important qualities a parent can have in order to succeed. A critical and perfectionist attitude toward yourself can translate into the same attitude toward a child. This is hard for any child but it can be especially hard for an adopted child who may have a greater struggle with issues around loss and acceptance.
What is your lifestyle like?
Are you the kind of person (or couple) who likes to spontaneously go out to meet friends, relishes your free time, and likes spending your expendable income to rent a ski lodge or beach house with friends? While you don't need to change your life 100% when you adopt, think realistically about how a child will affect your lifestyle. There will be fewer opportunities for uninterrupted socializing with other adults. How do you think you will feel about this?
Do you have the resources necessary to adopt a child?
Resources are both economic (money, assets), practical (such as the availability of child care and after-school care or recreational programs in your community) as well as emotional (friends, parent support groups, etc.)
Have you explored International as well as Domestic adoption and do you know about the different types of adoption including Public Agency and Private Agency Adoption?
If people don't know much about the different types of adoption they may rush into adopting the first child that they learn is available. It is preferable to explore the various types of adoption, listen to the experiences of others who have adopted, and read books about adoption and then proceed.
Are you and your spouse (if applicable) on the same page about adoption? Is your marriage/partnership on solid ground?
Occasionally people decide to adopt because they are having marital problems and decide that a child will bring them closer together. Or one spouse gives in to the other spouse's desire to parent even though they might not be 100% on board with the decision. Bringing a child into your home is full of joy and stress. If either of you isn't sure, spend some time with a couples counselor to clarify wants, needs and expectations before making this big decision.
These are just a few of the many, many things to consider when you are thinking about adoption. Want to learn more???
The next two Fridays, I will be sharing 4 podcasts about adoption that I recorded with Darius Moore (Family Recruitment Specialist) and Alex Kelly (Director of Family Engagement) with the Children's Home Society of NC. On January 11th I will share podcasts on "Becoming a Foster Parent" and "Fostering to Adoption". On January 18th I will share podcasts on "Adopting in NC" and "Cross-cultural Fostering and Adoption".