I remember well over a year ago when we first started seriously researching adoption, I *thought* I understood the concept of adoption. I quickly realized many of the thoughts I had were based on naive warm-fuzzies, and were not at all based on reality.
I would like to offer a list of questions to anyone considering adoption (whether foreign or domestic, private or state foster care). Ask yourself these questions, and if you don’t have the answer or don’t know how to find the answer, please feel free to ask me and I’ll be happy to help.
- If you’re considering transracial adoption, have you come to grips with any of those feelings of slight racism, ignorance or bigotry that many in our society fight against?
- Are you aware that there are groups which exist in society and online to completely bash adoptive families and adoption in general? (Reading these perspectives is not healthy, but you need to be aware that these groups exist.)
- Are you aware that there are cultural groups that do not support the idea of Caucasian families adopting African American children at all?
- If considering an older child adoption, have you read as much material as you can get your hands on of the possible psychological ramifications of a child growing up neglected, abused, malnourished or surrounded by drugs or violence? This is not to discourage older child adoption, but walking into it unaware of the reality of the situation can be extremely damaging to you and the child.
- If adopting from European nations like Russia and Kazakhstan, have you thoroughly read about the conditions of the children and orphanages in these countries? Unfortunately more often than our society would like to admit, parents with the purest of intentions end up disrupting (halting or completely backing out of) adoptions of older children (2 yrs and up) because they were unaware until arriving home of how severely damaged these poor children are. Sometimes in these countries, in a desperate attempt to ease the heavy national burden of their bulging orphanages, doctors, social workers and orphanage staff will leave out or blatantly lie about vital information regarding the child being adopted.
- Have you researched the various means to pay for an adoption? Have you looked into loans, grants, lines of credit and fund raising options?
- If adopting outside of your own culture or race, are you aware that you’ll always be-together- a trans- or multiracial family? It won’t be a white family with one “different” child. For better or worse, together you will always be a multiracial family.
- Have you fully considered whether you’d like an open, semi-open or closed adoption and the possible benefits and limitations each of these arrangements provide?
- Are you prepared to educate your child on their culture and to help them grow to be proud of who they are and where their heritage lies?
- Have you come to terms with your infertility or feelings of grief or sadness surrounding your initial decision to adopt? (if applicable)
- If you experienced infertility, have you considered how it might feel in the event that you become pregnant after adopting? Would you love and care for both children equally? Would you treat them as equals and love them both unconditionally?
- Are you prepared to handle questions in public from other mothers or even total strangers regarding your child’s place in your family? Some of these questions may come of as rude (or just blatantly be rude). I would imagine no one is really prepared for this the first time, because the questions are directed towards your precious child. However, I would wager that after the first few extra nosy or rude comments, one could come up with an acceptable response that doesn’t involve spit or the middle finger 🙂
- Have you talked to extended family and friends about your decision to adopt? Have you prepared them for the type of adoption arrangement you’re interested in, the culture of the child you’d like to adopt, and the age of the child you’re interested in adopting? Support from friends and family in the adoption process is absolutely invaluable. Believe me, you’ll want to include them in this. Don’t feel discouraged if they initially aren’t on board. With time and a little bit of openness, most families do come around. Those who don’t only hurt themselves, because they’re missing out on a fantastic relationship with a wonderful child.
If you have any questions about the list, please feel free to ask. Also, for those of you who have adopted, please feel free to add to it anything that you think was/is vitally important to ask yourself before diving into adoption.