Is Adoption Right For You?
Adopting a child is a tremendous act of generosity, kindness, and love. But just because you’re capable of being generous, kind and loving, that doesn’t mean adoption is necessarily right for you. Ask yourself these questions first to find out.
Why are you adopting?
There really is only a handful of reasons why people adopt, and they usually fall into these two categories: 1) They cannot conceive on their own. 2) They want to provide a loving home to a child who needs it. So, why do you want to adopt?
If it’s a conception issue…
Adoption is a wonderful option for parents who cannot conceive. However, receiving the news that you cannot conceive a child is devastating. Make sure you’ve fully accepted that before adopting. If you’re just adopting quickly to cover up the pain of not being able to give birth, that is unfair to the child. You’ll eventually have to face the pain you were avoiding.
How do you imagine adopted children to be?
Many people imagine adopted children to be eternally grateful to their adoptive parents. I mean, you could be saving a child from a life of poverty, loneliness, and suffering…
But kids are kids
And people change. You have to be okay with the fact that your adopted child may not come with this eternally grateful attitude you’re expecting. Your kid might be—let’s just say it—a difficult, even spoiled teenager for a time, and you have to accept that. That’s how kids are.
Is this a martyr thing?
Okay, so there is one other reason you might be adopting: it’s an achievable goal. Maybe your career isn’t going the way you’d like, or even your love life, but what about adoption? You might think, “At least I will have accomplished something if I adopt” and decide to dedicate your life to taking care of a child, instead of taking care of your career.
But that’s unfair
That’s a lot of pressure to put on a child. They are supposed to provide you with so much joy that you’ll forget about your unfinished goals and unpursued dreams? In general, it’s good as a biological or adoptive parent to go after your personal goals before becoming a parent.
Do you have your own loving family?
What sort of family do you come from? Were you adopted? Are you close with your parents? Distant? Did you completely reject your family at one time?
Just be aware
If you’re estranged from your family, or you lost them, make sure you’re not just adopting so you can create a new instant family. This, again, puts too much pressure on your child. Create a good, strong community of “family” among your friends before adopting a kid if you don’t have the best relationship with your folks.
Do you feel the need to rescue?
Maybe you just have an enormous amount of empathy. You always give money to the homeless, you volunteer at dog shelters all of the time, and just in general give, give and give. Is that why you want to adopt?
That’s okay, but it has its limits
If you have a bottomless amount of empathy, you might realize that adopting a child doesn’t satisfy your need to give. And you might continue to dedicate your time to other endeavors (like volunteering). But your child will need all of your attention. So if your reason for adopting is that you’re trying to satisfy your need to give, and give consistently, you might be better off working at a shelter or being a volunteer.
Do you already have a child?
Do you already have a biological child? Perhaps you feel you’re at an age where having a newborn doesn’t make sense, but adopting an older child isn’t an issue.
Make sure everyone is prepared
Make sure that your child will be okay with these changes. Your kid doesn’t have the same time to mentally prepare as he or she would if you were to become pregnant. And, since the child you’re adopting is a bit older, he or she may have already experienced a life that your biological child may not understand or connect to at all. Make sure everyone in your family has lots of time to think about whether or not this is the right decision, and also has time to adjust to the idea.
Are you really ready to be a parent?
If you will be a first-time parent, are you sure you’re ready? And are you totally willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be one? Once you become a parent, you are one until the day you die.
Be sure you’re ready
The reality is that biological parents might feel a stronger immediate bond to their child than adoptive parents. You feel a strong urge to see to the survival of this child because you already did see to his or her survival for nine months while you were pregnant. If you’re going to adopt, you need to make sure you’re really ready to make all the sacrifices that come with it. You need to know that may not be as easy for you as it is for biological parents.
Can you afford it?
If you’re going to adopt, know that you could be facing extreme expenses. Adoption can range from $25,000 to $35,000 between all the fees and travel involved.
Are you okay with paying for it?
The real question is, are you okay with spending that much to adopt? Will it put such a strain on your life that, once the child arrives, your quality of life is completely compromised? If so, you may end up resenting your child, which is extremely unfair. Make sure you’re okay with paying this expense.