Married Couples Choosing Adoption
While it is important to be very excited about this new stage of your life, it is also important to stay practical and go into the process well- prepared and informed. While married couples are the most common group to adopt a child, and adoption professionals tend to give them precedence in adopting, there are still many other factors that are balanced during the screening process.
The process of adoption can seem a bit mysterious to the outsider, and so it is not uncommon for couples to be surprised about the rigorous nature of the adoption screening. In order to demystify the process for you, we have listed some things you should consider as you begin to think about adoption. None of these are obviously meant to discourage you or diminish your excitement, but, rather, these tips are meant to save you a lot of surprise, work, and stress that could be felt before you even begin the process:
1. Think about any changes you might have to make to your living space.
A vital part of the adoption screening process is the home study or, sometimes called, the family study. The home study involves a lot of components that are designed to determine whether you are emotionally and physically prepared to have a child in your home.
An important part of the “physical” aspect is a home inspection to ensure that the child can live safely and comfortably in the home. Especially if you are preparing for a newborn, the home study agency will check your house to see if it is sufficiently child proofed and free of anything that may pose a threat to a small child.
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2. Make sure you are financially prepared.
It is usually apparent to couples that they have to be financially stable in order to have a child, adopted or not. However, many people don’t realize just how significant those costs can be. Adopting a child can cost around $40,000, and a child will only keep tugging at your wallet once he or she is adopted due to every day childbearing expenses. These facts are a reality that couples should still be aware of as they discuss adoption possibilities.
3. Be prepared to have open and honest conversations about your relationship.
This is crucial during two stages: first, when discussing adoption prior to entering the screening process, and secondly, during the interviews that consist the screening process.
During the first stage, the two of you must absolutely be on the same page, 100%. It is of course understandable for one or both people to have some fears and apprehensions about the process, but it is also essential to voice those fears and not just push them aside. Being mentally and physically together in the adoption decision is vital.
One thing you must definitely know is that having a baby will not solve any marital issues you may have. This sounds harsh, but is in fact a predominating myth around couples, regardless of their situation. A child will not magically solve any issues or tensions between the two of you, and it is unfair to put that kind of a burden on a child.
Even if you don’t believe this, it is vital that you do not proceed with adoption until you and your partner are in the same emotional place regarding adoption.
The second component of these conversations will happen during the process itself. Couples will be interviewed about their relationship and dynamics, typically together and separately. This is part of why it is so important to be on the same page. Sometimes adoption professionals will even give you “tests” in order to stimulate conversation about your relationship and determine how the two of you relate to one another.
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4. Don’t forget the needs and wants of the birth parents.
While many couples tend to fixate on the child they are going to receive, the relationship that you are going to have with the birth parents is usually not as big of a consideration.
Before you go into the process, the two of you should decide whether you want an open adoption. In an open adoption, one or both of the birth parents has contact with you and possibly the child. This contact can range from some messages once or twice a year to an active involvement in the child’s life. This is one of the bigger decisions you will have to make when you go to adopt, and the decision sometimes evolves around the circumstances of the child’s adoption. It is best to have that discussion as early as possible.
It is very important to keep the feelings of the birth parents in mind as you proceed. You might be very different people, and it might take some time to establish familiarity and comfort with them, but make sure to keep an open mind, pass no judgments, and remember that they are giving you the greatest gift you will ever receive.
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