Adopting a child is a commitment to bring a child into a supportive and loving environment. It’s a momentous occasion for parents and the adopted child. Before parents begin the adoption journey, it’s recommended they learn more about the different options and the process. Nonprofit organization BCFS Health and Human Services RSD provides valuable advice for prospective parents who want to adopt a child. The organization offers local, regional, and national-level support through education, shelter, and care offerings.
RSD encourages parents to learn some context about the adoption process’ complexity and regulations. There’s a considerable amount of “red tape” involved with most adoptions, and parents need patience to navigate this process calmly. A first step in the adoption journey for many parents should be a period of self-reflection. The parents should examine their core reasons for wanting to adopt and be certain they’re proceeding with the child’s best interests at heart. Adoption is a wonderful journey, but it’s filled with stress and anxiety, as new parents want everything to go perfectly and for the child to always be content. However, parenting is of course never perfect, so RSD recommends parents take a step back to be sure they’re emotionally ready and are in the right frame of mind to bring an adopted child home.
Once parents are certain they’re suited for the adoption pathway, it’s time for them to learn more about the actual process. Adoptions in the U.S. are typically completed through either an accredited agency or through an adoption lawyer, which is known as an “independent” adoption. With an agency, the parents have a partner that manages most of the paperwork and “behind the scenes” parts of the adoption. An independent adoption places more control in the parents’ hand, which might suit some parents that want that higher level of involvement. Many parents complete adoptions through the foster care system. There are hundreds of thousands of children in foster care, and a significant number are available for adoption. RSD suggests parents consider pre-adoption counseling, especially when adopting a foster child that might need additional support to properly integrate into a new home.
Parents that have chosen a route for adoption should then begin narrowing down the type of child they’d like to bring home. Again, it’s time for some introspection. Parents should determine if they only want an infant or toddler-age child. Would they be willing to adopt a sibling pair or an older child? Narrowing down the choices helps ensure parents are honest about their capabilities and can provide the level of care the child deserves.
As parents learn more about adoption, RSD suggests they narrow down the specific child they are hoping to adopt. Some parents only want to adopt an infant or toddler. Others might be open to an older child or even to adopting two (or more) siblings at the same time. In either case, it’s beneficial for parents to spend time thinking about their preferences and concerns so they’re on the same page with each other and can provide the most welcoming possible home to their adopted child.