5 More Questions to Consider When Adopting

Writing about adoption tends to be fairly difficult for me, but I’m okay with answering questions and thought I would do this again. Do you have any questions for me? Leave them in the comments and I’ll answer in a separate post.

These questions come from the Human Rights Campaign. I’m going to answer five. The complete list at the website has three additional questions.

1. Public or Private Agency?
There are pros and cons to either choice. With a private agency, you have many more options when it comes to selecting a child. You also have high costs and likely a difficult matching process. With a public agency, like the foster care system, you are very limited in “what kind of kid you want,” but there are little to no costs. With either option, you need to be ready for difficulties in the selection process.

2. What child is right for me/us?
When you adopt, you have to spell out exactly what you will and won’t accept in a child. It can be difficult. To me, it always felt wrong when I clicked the “no” box. Here is the thing – I knew that if a biological child was born with one of these difficulties, I would love them without a second thought. It felt like I was a bad person trying to hand-pick my child. It is just reality though. It is different than bringing a newborn into the home. With the foster care system, we had to specify gender, age range, sibling group, and medical/mental challenges. Things can be even more complicated with a private adoption. Will you be upset if your child doesn’t look a thing like you? Yeah, adoption probably isn’t the right choice.

3. Do you have the patience to wait for your child to show you love?
Oh, this one is a good one. If you start digging very deep into the articles and stories about adoption on the internet, you will see so many people talk about a struggle to develop a bond with their adoptive child. And yet, this wasn’t even really mentioned when we went through our process. Babies and toddlers are one thing, but older kids aren’t going to just come into your home and instantly feel like a part of the family. There is a growing period. You have to get used to each other and build trust. And remember if you are adopting an older child, he has likely been through some pretty bad stuff. Also, even the younger children can have socialization issues – especially if they have been living in an overcrowded orphanage where workers weren’t able to give them any one-on-one attention. Attachment is not automatic. In extreme cases, it may never happen.

4. Are you ready to be 100% honest and transparent with the agency worker?
The worker is going to ask your all sorts of personal questions. You have to be ready and willing to share with them. Hobbies, jobs, household chores, discipline systems, outside family bonds, friends, relationship issues, etc. When my husband and I went through the separate interview process, they asked us about our sex life. You are going to have to tell them. They will interview everyone in the household. Everyone. You might not think some of the questions they ask are important, but it all about making sure you are a stable family that will be matched with a child who will fit in to your environment. You need to be able to deal with the questions if you are going to make it through the process. No lying – you want to get the best match possible.

5. Have you had a major life event in the past 12 months?
Did you just get married? Move to a new place? Lose your job? Did someone die? Okay, wait a bit to adopt. Seriously. Bringing a new child into the home is disruptive. Bringing an adoptive child into the home has another whole set of issues on top. You want to be stable and set into your routine before doing this. We moved in the middle of our process and decided to slow down our paperwork and classes as we both adjusted to a new home, two new jobs, and a new school for the girl. We were still trying to find doctors for ourselves; it wasn’t the time to try to get a new child settled too.

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