Someone asks you for advice on adoption: what do you say?
Filed under: Adoption
A friend of mine approached me the other day and said he and his wife were thinking about adopting and asked me for advice. Well, I was flattered to be asked, and I told him that the four of us should get together for dinner soon and talk and they would be able to ask us about our experiences.
Of course, every adoption situation/experience is different, and I'm sure we can all agree that there is no single set of "advice guidelines" that one person can give to another. Those of us who have adopted can certainly say that although we asked others what their experiences were like, our own experiences may have had some similarities, but most of the time, they were different from anyone else's.
Anyway, I've been thinking about what to say my friend, and here is what I came up. I know there's a lot more, but these are a few "bullet points" that came to mind. If someone asked you for adoption "advice," what would you say? Please leave your comments below.
- Do your research. Don't talk to just one family that adopted--talk to as many as you can. Usually, one family that has adopted knows at least one other family that has adopted, and so on. There are many adoption groups/meetups that take place all over the country, and there probably is a group that gets together not too far from where you live. In addition, read as much as you can. There are countless books, magazine articles, websites, and other resources where you can get information.
- Decide on the type of adoption you wish to pursue. Do you want to adopt domestically or internationally? Are you comfortable with an "open" adoption? If you are thinking about adopting internationally, are you willing to travel far from home and stay in that particular country for (possibly) a couple of weeks?
- Budget accordingly. Adoption costs money. Whether you work with an attorney or an adoption agency, be prepared to pay for their services. This is NOT to say that they don't do good work--my point here is that things such as home studies, background checks, filing of paperwork, etc., costs money, so you should budget for this accordingly. However, you have to keep a roof over your head and food on your table, so make sure you can do this without putting yourself in deep debt.
- Be prepared for the "roller-coaster ride." Based on my own experiences, I remember that when my wife and I were first deemed "ready to adopt" (paperwork filed, home study completed, background checks completed, etc.), we thought we would be getting a call the next day telling us that a birthmother had chosen us to be the people to raise her baby. However, reality set in, and we ended up waiting for about six months before we finally got "the call". We were lucky--some people can wait much longer. There could be times where you call your agency asking if they heard anything, and one day they could tell you that there may be a possibility very soon, and the next day they may say that the birthmother changed her mind or something else may have developed. The key is that you have to remain on an even keel, but definitely stay positive! It will happen!
Those are some of the things my wife and I were thinking about telling our friends. What would you tell your friends if they asked you for advice on adoption?