What to Consider Before You Decide to Adopt
No matter the circumstances, adoption is always a major decision. Approximately 135,000 children are adopted every year in the United States. This includes an estimated 59% from the foster care system, 26% from abroad and 15% who are relinquished voluntarily.
Adoption Can Be Hard for Everyone Involved
The process of adoption may be overwhelming to the parents, and it’s often scary for the kids involved. It can also stir up a significant amount of fear and other emotions.
When you think about whether or not this life choice is right for your family, consider what’s at the heart of your desire to adopt. Make sure that the choices you make are truly for the child’s benefit. Although the vast majority of adopting parents have the best intentions, it’s still possible to lose sight of things in this complex and often lengthy process.
Anticipate Each Child’s Unique Challenges
Remember that no two children are the same, so all kids need different things from their parents. Make sure to consider your family’s limitations, and be realistic about what you’re capable of. If a child has a physical or mental disability, which is the case with numerous adoption candidates, their care will take extra time, care and effort.
Adoptive parents should also think about the child’s background, age and gender. These factors can play a significant role in how much work it will take for the adoptive family to provide a suitable, healthy environment for the child to grow up and thrive in.
In addition to gearing yourself up emotionally, you have to keep the logistical concerns in mind. If you have never had a kid in your house, try to think of everything you’ll have to do in order to child-proof the space. Some hazards might not become obvious until it’s too late if you don’t give it enough forethought. In addition to safety, ask yourself if you can make changes in decor or in your home’s layout to make it more inviting to a child who may be feeling fragile.
It Takes a Village
When you adopt a child, community support is essential. It’s difficult to raise a well-rounded child in isolation. Before you adopt, think about who you can turn to for help. This includes family, friends and neighbors. Who will watch your child if you get stuck at work or have to go out of town?
You can also see if there are groups in your area that you can join. It might be helpful to talk to a New Jersey adoption attorney. Sometimes, just the feeling that there are others around who are on your side can make all the difference.
Help is crucial for all new parents, and adoptive parents shouldn’t feel the need to try to shoulder everything themselves. It’s not just important for the parents but also the child you’re adopting. Strong community support can help them to feel like they’re supported in every way and that they have access to everything they need.
Think About What the Child Has Lost
What some adoptive families don’t realize is that the adopted child starts the experience with the loss of their previous family and household. It may take some time for them to fully grieve this loss. You might notice an adopted child act out in various ways.
It’s helpful to anticipate this type of behavior and attempt to understand why it’s happening. Adoptive parents have to rise to this challenge and keep their cool so that they can work through issues as they come up. An adopted child might not be ready or willing to talk about their trauma right away, and they may still have yet to learn the emotional tools to express these kinds of complex feelings. Family therapy sessions could allow everyone an outlet to discuss their feelings and get advice about how to move forward.
Before adoption, it’s best to figure out whether you’d prefer that the adoption be open, where the child can have contact with their biological parents, or closed adoptions, where they can’t. Each choice presents different challenges and advantages and depends on your situation and family. In dome cases, you won’t have full control over the relationship that your adopted child has with their biological parents.
At Cofsy & Zeidman, you’ll find a New Jersey adoption attorney who will walk you through every step of the process. Call (856) 429-5005 to reach us in Haddonfield or (856) 845-2555 for our office in Woodbury. We also serve clients in Pennsylvania.