How Important is Adoption Planning?
How Honesty with Your Adoption Professional Can Equal Adoption Success
Are you ready to adopt? Before you speak to an adoption professional, be prepared to share your deepest wishes for your family and for the child you are seeking.
Why is such honesty so important? Because it is your adoption professional’s job to understand your motivations and desires so that he or she can help you effectively from the start. Your professional can then narrow down the options, preferences and appropriate birthmother situations and help you plan your adoption. And a good adoption professional can help you save you a great deal of time, money and frustration in the process.
Having an adoption plan is the first key to adoption success. Creating an adoption plan at the start doesn’t cost anything — but working without a plan can cost you a bundle in mistakes.
Don’t be offended when an adoption professional poses probing questions about your adoption plans and the reasons behind your answers. By asking the right questions during adoption planning, a qualified adoption professional can determine what your needs and desires are and any limitations you might be facing.
Determining your budget is crucial at the start, too. I remember one morning when we were first trying to adopt, we received a phone call from an attorney. The attorney said he had a newborn boy ready to go home with a family, but the total fees, we discovered after a few moments, were far beyond something we could afford. We regretfully had to pass, and that was very difficult. If the attorney had inquired about our budget at the start, he would have saved us frustration and tears.
You may have a long list of things you want in your adoption, but some may be restrictive to your success. For example, your chances of obtaining medical records from both birth parents are slim. But if you want a fairly healthy birth mother, that is very attainable. If you insist on only a blonde-haired, blue-eyed newborn, you might find it could take a long time, and ethical adoption professionals will tell you they cannot guarantee this type of request. Babies don’t always look like their birth mothers, so be realistic with what you must have and what you would like – with your adoption wants and needs.
What is your number one need in your adoption — the health of the baby, region in which the birth mother lives, age, race or her expectations on openness? Speak to your adoption professional and ask candidly if your requests are realistic. Be open to advice, and if asked to rethink a requirement, consider doing so. Remember, you could be passing up the child meant for you if your requirements are too rigid.
Prioritize your list, and let your adoption professional make some suggestions based on those priorities. Start with the must-haves and go from there. For example, one couple came to me and insisted on adopting in the middle of summer when they were off work as school teachers. This was their most important request, so I asked them if it was more important than the health or age of their child. They paused and realized that they wanted a healthy child even more. Remember, being practical and thinking through your adoption plan is vital to your adoption success.
A good adoption professional who asks important questions is not being nosey. He or she is acting as the liaison between you and your child, helping you find the best and most perfect situation with as little time and stress on your part as possible. Plenty of groundwork needs to be done for an adoption to be successful, and completely understanding your situation and your needs is a big part of that. So, help your adoption professional help you, and you should be on your way to creating the family you have been dreaming of for a lifetime.
Below, you’ll find a few simple questions you may want to answer to determine your readiness for adoption.
1. Why do you want to adopt a child?
2. How serious are you about adopting at this time?
3. If you’re married, does your spouse want to adopt as much as you do?
4. What age child would you prefer to adopt?
5. What is the ideal adoption situation for you?
6. What do you feel you could contribute to a child’s
7. Have you considered how bringing a child into your life will change it, and are you willing to accept this responsibility at this time?
8. Are you willing to take time off from work to bond with your child?
9. Are you ready to adopt – financially, socially and emotionally -at this time?
10. What are you willing to do to make your adoption a reality?
11. Are you willing to love a child who enters your family through adoption as you would a biological child?
12. How does your family feel about adoption? Do they know your intentions?
13. If a birth parent asked for photos, letters, and updates, would you honor their request?
14. What can you offer your child in the way of faith, religion and spiritual guidance?
15. Do you feel you would be a good parent? Why? If not, would you be willing to get assistance in developing these skills?
16. Do you and your spouse have the patience that is needed to care for a child at this time in your life?
17. Are you able to handle delays and disappointments? Do you believe that everything happens for a reason and that the right child is out there for you?
Don’t give up on your dream of parenting a child. Focus on what it is you want and go for it. Be willing to make the sacrifices to bring this special child into your home through adoption. With safe adoption planning, a qualified adoption professional and an extra measure of patience, you, too, will soon join the millions of others who are loving a child through adoption and wouldn’t trade a moment of their life for anything different.
Remember, don’t ever give up. Your child is out there. He or she is depending on you and just waiting to be found.
With Warmest Regards,
–Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P. is the Founder of Lifetime Adoption. She is an adoptive parent, the author of AdoptingOnline.com and Adoption: Your Step-by-Step Guide, and radio talk show host of “Let’s Talk Adoption…with Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.,” at LetsTalkAdoption.com. Mardie has written numerous articles on parenting, adoption, travel and finance. Mardie, her husband and children all live in Northern California.
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