Adoption, a beautiful and complex process, is one that needs to be thought and planned out extensively. Determining whether adoption is right for you is a life-changing decision, and not one that can be made lightly. There are many factors that need careful consideration. The following five questions are not only common but also essential to ask yourself and your partner when contemplating adoption.
Why do I Want to Adopt?
This delves into your heart and helps you truly evaluate your reason for adopting. Be completely honest with yourself. Do you feel pressured? Do you feel you have a duty to provide a home for a child? Are you trying to show how open-minded you are by welcoming another culture, race or color into your home? Remember, children are not political statements. They are human beings seeking love and acceptance just like you.
Have you suffered a recent loss? For many couples, this is a painful reality. Infertility is fairly common, and grieving loss is unfathomable. But, remember, adoption isn’t a Band-Aid. It won’t replace your child. No child deserves to feel like a consolation prize.
Do you have the heart of a parent that transcends having a child of your own flesh and blood? One who you will love unconditionally and accept no matter what? Laugh and cry with, support through the good times and bad, and give them the best life possible? If this is you – wonderful!
How do I Define Love?
Will I love my adopted child as my own, or will I feel disconnected? Will my kids accept them as their brother or sister, or treat them differently?
If you’ve ever had these thoughts or questions, it’s okay and completely natural. Give yourself permission to process these. What do you think: could you love a child that doesn’t share your DNA? Again, be honest. If your mind says no – there’s your answer. But, if your mind says yes – you’re one step further.
Biological or not, love is love. Love is a verb, after all. At the end of the day, you are a parent and your child is your child. Parenting isn’t warm and fuzzy every day. There will be ups and downs no matter what.
The difference is you.
Can I Provide for the Child?
Finances come into play here. It’s important to have a realistic budget established, and to determine if you will be living off one income or two.
The average cost for a domestic adoption is between $40,000 and $45,000. Domestic adoptions will typically utilize the services of either an adoption agency or adoption lawyer, who will also have their own set of fees. Some adoption agencies offer sliding fees, which are based off your income. There are also benefits available to U.S. Military families.
There is no average cost with international adoptions. Research pertaining to each individual country of interest will be needed, as well as further discussion with your adoption agency or lawyer.
Do I Meet the Legal Requirements?
While there are a few basic requirements for adoption, please consult your adoption agency or adoption lawyer to ensure the most current information.*
First is references. This includes 3 references (in Colorado) included within your home study; this has to be non-relatives who know both of the applicants. A form from the Adoption Agency is sent to the references.
Second, in Colorado, three clearances are required to be eligible to adopt. These are the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) background checks, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background checks, and TRAILS clearances. If you have a domestic violence charge, you will not be eligible to ever adopt in Colorado. Background checks are a requirement of the home study. For every state the couple/individual has lived in the past five years, a background check is required.
Next, medical clearance. All prospective adoptive parents must undergo medical exams to define their physical and mental status. A doctor’s note will be needed for any history of chronic illness, and all individuals must be deemed emotionally stable to be considered safe for adoption. Those with any history relating to child abuse will be immediately disqualified, and past criminal history will need to be further evaluated.
Laws and allowances vary on this depending on state and country.
*Please note for Colorado families, an adoption agency must be used in order to adopt.
Am I Comfortable Telling Them Their Adoption Story?
This crucial piece helps you plan the appropriate time to talk to your child about their adoption story. Adoption can be a challenging topic to explain, and it can evoke varying emotions or other questions. You’ll want to be prepared for how to traverse this with them. Will you be comfortable telling them how you chose adoption and answer any questions they have – as hard as they may be? Will you be comfortable helping them find out information regarding their birth parents or heritage?
Adoption is one of the most rewarding and selfless decisions any parent can make.
If it’s right for you – go for it!
Curry, Elizabeth. “5 Unique Questions To Ask Yourself Before Adopting.” Adoption.com, 20 Feb. 2017, adoption.com/5-unique-questions-to-ask-yourself-before-adopting.
“How Much Does Adoption Really Cost?” Creating a Family, Creating a Family, Inc., 1 Nov. 2014, creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/how-much-does-it-really-cost-to-adopt/.
“Ready to Adopt? 10 Questions to Ask If You’re Thinking About Adoption.” AdoptHelp, 25 Jan. 2017, www.adopthelp.com/am-i-ready-to-adopt-10-questions/.
“What Are The Requirements To Adopt A Child?” Adoption Network, Adoption Network Law Center – Safer Than Adoption Agencies, 2018, adoptionnetwork.com/requirements-to-adopt-a-child?camp=DSA-AP&kw=&device=c&gclid=Cj0KCQjw3v3YBRCOARIsAPkLbK79w8Bzld3ptaEGLvvn6cweOmoNv3r0F9XKsFOhhXggakt_PWhHi2waAkWEEALw_wcB.
“Will I Love An Adopted Child As Much As A Biological Child?” Adoption Network, Adoption Network Law Center – Safer Than Adoption Agencies, 2018, adoptionnetwork.com/how-to-adopt-a-baby/will-i-love-a-adopted-child-as-much-as-a-biological-child.