The process by which a legal and permanent parent-child relationship is created through court proceedings.
We actually have two goals in this section. We are trying to both encourage and discourage you from adopting. Confused? Let us explain.
There is something extremely important you must understand about adoption…adoption comes from brokenness. Yes, adoption is beautiful; a child getting a safe family is one of the most powerful images we can imagine. But no matter how you view it, a kid needing to be adopted means a family was broken. This brokenness will more than likely result in some pretty significant trauma for a child who is adopted, and you are committing yourself to help them on their journey of healing.
This is a significant realization because it can inform many different parts of your adoption. It can shape your motivation for adopting and how you handle your child’s past, it will help set proper expectations, and it could even lead you to not adopt at all and instead work towards family reunification.
So even though we absolutely want you to consider adoption, especially because there are millions of kids who need a safe family, we also want you to consider how you could be a part of helping families stay together. This mindset will lead some of you to adoption, others toward family preservation, and hopefully everyone to doing what is best for each individual child.
Questions and Concerns
The thought of permanently bringing a child into your home is a big decision that should be accompanied with careful thought and plenty of questions. Although you will never be able to prepare for everything, having proper expectations is one of the greatest tools you can take into an adoption. So don’t be shy. Ask your questions; especially to people who have already walked this path.
Here are some great stories and wisdom from people who have already been through their own adoptions.
Deciding to adopt is a huge decision, but now you are being faced with a whole new set of choices. Will you adopt domestically or internationally, from a foster placement or child who is already waiting for adoption, a baby or an older child, or perhaps you are considering a child with different needs? Even if you know these answers, some of these situations can have significant differences and nuances in their processes. Don’t let this overwhelm you. We are here to give you stories and resources that can help you navigate your adoption process.
Training and Education
Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, becoming an adoptive parent is different than having a biological child and you must prepare differently. Yes, there will be similarities and crossover, but adoption means that a child has experienced trauma, even if adopted at birth. It does a great disservice to everyone involved to attempt traditional parenting styles with a child whose brain has been affected by trauma. Don’t let this scare you, but let it inspire you to equip yourself to help your child heal.
Here are some stories and resources that can help you prepare for whatever type of adoption you are pursing.
Matching and Waiting
One of the most difficult parts of adoption can be the wait and anticipation leading up to it. Although it can be taxing to make these tough decisions and fill out endless paperwork, at least it will feel like you are making progress. But when your progress becomes stalled or you feel like you are taking steps backward, it can take an emotional toll.
Although this time can be incredibly difficult, it can also be exactly what is needed for your future family to thrive. So take heart, and find encouragement in the stories of others who have endured waiting and all kinds of setbacks.
POST PLACEMENT Support
Are you struggling in your adoption? Do you feel like there is no hope? Have you had thoughts that scare you or cause you deep shame? Do your friends and family try to help, but just don’t get it? You knew that this was going to be difficult, but it’s beyond what you could have imagined.
First of all, take a deep breath and know that you are not the first to feel this way and you will not be the last. Whether it’s day one and you feel way in over your head or it’s year five and things should be better by now, we promise there is hope.
Be confident in knowing that adoption is a lifelong journey filled with incredible highs, unimaginable lows, and everything in between. Some people only hit a few bumps in the road while others feel like they are falling off a cliff. It’s important to remember that comparison will get you nowhere. Every child and every adoption is different. We’ve heard of some children who have found healing in a few months and others that searched well into their adult years. The point is that no matter how long it’s been, there is still hope. Keep fighting, don’t give up.
Here are some stories, wisdom, and resources to help with your adoption struggles.