Preparing For Your Adoption
As you begin the journey of a lifetime, here are some suggestions for preparing yourself! Many of these come from our years of experience working with adoptive families during the home study and training processes at Adoption Connection so don’t be surprised if you hear these suggestions repeated along the way. If you are ready to move forward, here is a place to start:
Grieving your own losses
Everyone thinks of adoption as an unimagineably happy experience for all. But the reality is that adoption involves LOSS for each member of the adoption triad. It is easy to see the losses involved for birthparents. It may be a little less obvious to understand the losses felt by a child who is adopted, especial those adopted as infants. As prospective adoptive parents, you may have suffered several losses during infertility treatments, the loss of experiencing a successful pregnancy being only one. In order to be ready to adopt, grieving those losses is vitally important for all prospective adoptive parents. It is not usual to experience the typical stages of grief: denial, sadness, anger, fear/bargaining with God, and finally, acceptance. If you are finding yourself stuck in your grief process, we can help. Pre-adoption counseling is one of our many services to you. We can also make referrals to outside professionals when appropriate.
Before you adopt, you should clearly understand your own motivations and feelings about adoption. Among other questions, ask yourself:
- Do I clearly understand why I want to adopt?
- Am I committed to adoption?
- Does my lifestyle allow the time and energy necessary to meet the needs of a child?
- Can I love a child not biologically connected to me/us?
- Do I have adequate finances to parent a child?
- How do I feel about birthparents who make adoption plans?
- Can I create positive self-esteem about adoption for our child?
- Can my family be the “same” as other families yet “different” because of adoption?
- If applicable, does my partner feel the same about all of the above and can we work as a team to adopt?
These and other questions will surface again during your home study assessment and adoption preparation training. Start thinking about them now so that you can uncover any emotional roadblocks to your adoption journey! If you are stumbling with them, we are here to help!
Adoption preparation training
Adoption Connection offers Adoption Preparation Training for all families pursuing adoption. It is open to families registered with Adoption Connection or participating in our Waiting Families Program. Our Training consists of a day-long interactive workshop with other prospective adoptive families covering such topics as loss in adoption, developmental issues for adopted children, working with birthparents, talking to your child about adoption, openness in adoption, an adoptive parent panel, and much more. You also receive a resource book chock full of informative articles that you can refer back to for years to come. Rather than just sitting at a computer, you will meet other prospective parents who share your fears, your excitement and your questions about adoption. We promise you will also make some lifelong friends on your adoption journey!
Here is what families have said about our Adoption Preparation Training:
“WOW- we learned so much in our class! It answered a lot of our questions and calmed a lot of our fears! The materials were excellent and the presentations were lively and interactive. It was nice having a group of people all going through the same things we are and we plan to stay in touch down the road!” RK, Des Moines
“This was not just a bunch of boring lectures to sit through! We enjoyed the different speakers and the variety of exercises used to explore issues in adoption we hadn’t even thought of before. It really opened our eyes about “child-centeredness” in adoption and how important that is for our child. Highly recommend this training!” B.N., Sioux City
Expectant parents who are choosing an adoptive family for their child sometimes have very specific wishes about the family they are looking for: “a two parent family without children who live in the country (but not too far from a town) and have horses.” Others have no idea where to start. Profiles are an important visual tool to find the right family for their child. Expectant parents can review profiles of our waiting families online or in person with one of our adoption counselors to help in their selection process. “Meeting” a family first though profiles helps the expectant parent crystalize their plans for adoption and privately sort out what they really want in a family for their child, without the fear of facing families right away or feeling bad for not choosing one or all of them!
At Adoption Connection, prospective adoptive families don’t just fill out a form for us to create their profiles. We don’t believe in a “one size-fits all” approach. With our help and guidelines, each family creates their own unique profile that is designed to introduce them to expectant parents. Some families feel comfortable creating their profiles with minimal instruction and guidance from us. Others require a little more coaching! If creativity is not your thing, we also can refer you to outside resources for technical production assistance. Adoption Connection reserves the right to edit profile content and length according to our specifications. Please contact us for more information about our guidelines, profile coaching and Waiting Family listing services.