Why Do You Want To Adopt?
The first step any couple or single person will want to ask themselves is, "Why do we want to adopt?"
Many adopt because they are unable to have biological children of their own. As a person who has suffered infertiltiy herself, I understand. I also understand the psychological effects of infertiltiy and if this is the base reason you are considering adoption you should see a therapist.
Wait, I don't think you're crazy! I suggest seeing a mental health professional so that you are able to sort out any unresolved feelings associated to your infertilty that you or your partner may have. Often times infertility leaves women and men with feelings of guilt, shame, unworthiness and failure. Dealing with and overcoming those negatively impacting emotions will not only leave you and or your partner with a lighter load of emotional baggage, but it will open the door to better parenting.
How Do Those Close To You Feel About Adoption?
Adoption affects not just those wishing to parent, but also those who are close to the family. Friends, neighbors, relatives and aquaintances. Granted, the most important people in making the decision to adopt is the prospective adoptive parents. However, one should not underestimate the impact of outside influences - especially if there are people in total disagreement with adoption that you and your prospective adoptive child may see on a regular basis.
Sit down with those you are most directly involved with and ask them their opinions on adoption. How do they feel about adoption in general? Do they have negative feelings? If so, what? Would they be able to equally love and accept an adoptive and biological family member? What are their views on different types of adoption? Open? Closed? Semi-Open? If open adoption is an option you or you and your partner are considering, how will others receive and treat biological parents if they are ever to be in contact with them?
Why does it matter what others think about the decisions your family makes? Well, in the worst case scenario a very negative impact could be placed on the relationship of family members, your home life and most importantly the psychological and mental health of the potential child you may be adopting.
For example, let's say your mother and father are dead set against adoption. They do not believe they could love or accept an adopted child in the same manner as they could or do a biological child. If you adopt, these people would then become your adopted child's grandparents. Put yourself into that position. Imagine when you were a child and not being loved or accepted by your grandparents. Not consider the trauma it would or could have caused.
Everyone who matter - and you know who that is - should be in agreement before proceeding. If an understanding or agreement cannot be reached through talking things through, research and reasoning adoption is probably not a good choice for you and your family.
Are You Parent Material?
A child requires a lot of time, patience and work. Parenting is NOT an easy job. That can stand to be repeated, so let me say that once again: PARENTING IS NOT AN EASY JOB. In fact, it will be the most important and difficult career of your life.
Once you sign on, there is NO retirement. You WILL NOT get vacation time. You WILL work overtime and holidays often without recognition. Your time will no longer be your own and this little person will dictate what you do, when you do it and how it is to be done for the rest of your life - or at least until they're adults.
And so, ask yourself do you have the time, patience, endurance and desire to parent? If no, are you willing to make the necessary changes to allow for it? If not, parenting of anykind - especially adoption - is truly not something you should pursue.
What Type Of Adoption Is Right For Your Family?
If you've thought everything through and have came to the conclusion that adoption is truly something you or you and your partner would like to pursue, you'll now want to think about what type of adoption you are willing to involve yourselves in.
Adoption comes in several different forms. For the purpose of this article, I'm only going to discuss the following: Closed Adoption, Semi-Closed or Semi-Open Adoption and Open Adoption.
A CLOSED ADOPTION is very much what it sounds like. No information is shared, the biological parent or parents never meet the adoptive parents, contact between birthparents is very limited or non existent.
No contact is had with the adoptee from the biological parents.
Closed Adoption should not; however, be confused with sealed adoption records. While sealed records may be a part of a closed adoption, this is not always the case and a seperate issue all together.
There are no photos, phone calls or visits between those involved in a closed adoption.
Once a child reaches legal age, he or she may wish to find his or her biological parents. A closed adoption does not guarantee adoptive parents that this will not occur.
SEMI-CLOSED or SEMI-OPEN ADOPTION
In a SEMI-CLOSED ADOPTION limited information and contact is had between the biological parent who placed the child for adoption and the adopting parent. Ususally any information shared is non-identifying.
Sometimes photos, letters and emails are shared. Generally, the agency that handled the adoption will act as the mediator. Adoptive parents will send in photos, letters, etc to the adoption agency and then the agency will share those with the biological parents.
Although it is far more rare, this type of contact is sometimes done in a more direct way and the agency is not involved.
There is very rarely any face-to-face contact between any parties involved in a SEMI-CLOSED ADOPTION.
As with a CLOSED ADOPTION, once your child reaches adulthood he or she may decide to attempt to seek out and develop a relationship with their birthparents.
In an OPEN ADOPTION direct contact between adoptive family and the biological family occurs. The extent of how much contact varies from one adoption to the next. Sometimes the birthparents are not comfortable with a lot of contact or the adoptive parents feel that they do not wish to have excessive contact with the biological family.
Most experts will agree that the healthiest adoptions occur when both biological and adoptive parents can place a child first and allow for a relationship to be established between the child and his or her biological parents. Sometimes, this not possible due to the safety of the child or the desires of the birthparents.
Contact can vary between phone calls, emails or visits. Frequency will vary greatly depending on the factors within a specific situation. Generally, face to face visits occur when either the birthfamily visits the adoptive family or vice versa. This creates the atmosphere of an extended family for the child as well as offering comfort to both birth and adoptive parents.