Adoption is as complex, as it is amazing. It is one that needs to be meticulously thought through and planned out. 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.
What Kind of Adoption do I Want?
Open or closed? Domestic or international? Each choice is important to consider before adoption. Race, nationality, age, gender, special needs, etc. All these things and more will impact your life moving forward — and not only yours. For the rest of your life, your child will be a part of it, and each decision affects them as well.
Domestic adoptions can be handled through a licensed private agency, independently with the help of attorneys and other appropriate professionals or through public foster care. International adoptions must be conducted through a U.S. Hague approved agency.
With open or closed adoptions, you are deciding on how much involvement you want with the birth family, and how that contact may continue with you and your child. Closed adoptions involve no contact between the birth mother and prospective adoptive parents. Information is shared by agencies and other adoption professionals.
Most adoptions operate on a more open basis now-a-days. This means that adoptive parents and birth parents may exchange letters or pictures. Some may agree to meet before the adoption. Each story is different. Details can be discussed and agreements can be arranged through the agency or attorney you choose. No matter the status of the relationship — open or closed — adoption records are sealed until the child becomes an adult. At that time, some states allow the child to petition for their original birth certificate.
Am I OK not Being Biologically Related to my Child?
Will I love my adopted child as my own, or will I feel disconnected? Will my extended family, friends and community welcome them? 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 and time to think them through 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 closer to adoption.
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 are ups and downs of parenting. Adoption just adds a complexity that comes in and out of daily life.
How will I tell Friends and Family?
Has anyone else in your family adopted a child, or considered doing so? What about in your circle of friends? If adoption is not a familiar topic, talking about it or confiding that you are considering adopting a child may be a challenge. For, with adoption, comes potential judgment and various misconceptions about what it is and how it works. Questions regarding your own thought processes and reasoning may also come to light. Particularly if you choose to adopt internationally, outside your own race, or a child who has special needs. The line of questions may include uncomfortable or, even, unwanted and unnecessary feedback. While your friends and family may only be voicing concern for you and your future, it may not feel this way. Stand strong. Be firm with them. Educate them to provide further understanding into the adoption process and your decision making.
Throughout it all, remember that you are the child’s future parents. Not your friends or family. Everyone may have a different reaction, and that’s ok.
If any of them wish to continue being a part of their life, they will need to come to terms with your decision in their own way and time. Some may even grow to become your strongest supporters.
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 to parent? 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 ethnicity 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 an emotionally challenging process. Adoption is not a Band-Aid, or a way to cover up grief. It won’t replace a lost or dream of a child.
Do you have a heart that can transcend 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?
Am I Eligible to Adopt?
Adoption laws vary from state to state when it comes to who may adopt and other specific requirements, so be sure to check with your adoption agency or attorney to ensure that you qualify and follow all state requirements.
In the state of New York, there are no restrictions on the marital status, gender orientation, religion or marital status of prospective adoptive parents.
Am I Ready to Adopt?
Due to the innate complexity of the adoption process, it’s always best to consult an adoption attorney to discuss your situation, and to make sure that you understand the adoption process in New York as well as what happens if you adopt a child from another state or country. Be sure to research as much of the process as you can, and ask any and all questions you have.
Adoption is one of the most rewarding, selfless decisions any parent can make. There is no right or wrong. It is about what is best and right for you and your family.
For more information on adoption or if you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Adoption Choices of New York.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowd Rise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more. But, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2018, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
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Freeman, Shanna. “10 Questions to Ask Yourself If You’re Considering Adoption.” HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 19 July 2010, health.howstuffworks.com/pregnancy-and-parenting/10-questions-to-ask-if-considering-adoption.htm.
“New York Adoption Laws.” Findlaw, statelaws.findlaw.com/new-york-law/new-york-adoption-laws.html.
“Ready to Adopt? 10 Questions to Ask If You’re Thinking About Adoption.” AdoptHelp, 12 Sept. 2018, www.adopthelp.com/am-i-ready-to-adopt-10-questions/.