Friday, July 23, 2010

Adoption

The first thing you need to know and believe is that adoption is possible. This must be a strong belief because adoption is a process. It can seem complicated, time consuming and frustrating. Although each year the process becomes a little bit easier because of the many resources available to help prospective adoptive parents learn about adoption.

You will hear many horror stories and myths like adopted children are troubled. There is absolutely no truth that adopted children have more problems than birth children. Parenting is more about bonding, love and trust than about biology. In fact some parents who adopt a child may be more successful than parents that are able to have biological children. This is due to the fact that the adopted parents have made a decision to bring a child into their life which is not always the case with biological families. Also, biological parents may have children for the wrong reasons. They may have children to continue the family name or to please members of the family. This is where life can be unfair.

An adoptive couple must go through a process and be screened to see if they will be good parents. This can cause frustration to many adoptive parents as their whole life is scrutinized to see if they will be approved to adopt a child. Meanwhile there are no requirements for biological parents before they become parents. In fact the unfairness of it all can be boiled down to one question that is asked of the adopted parents. Why do you want to become parents? Most adoption agencies want to hear from prospective adoptive parents that their main reason for wanting a child is a general liking of children. Meanwhile the answers that come from biological parents range from: I don't know, a general liking of children, to continue the family name, or to please other people in the family.

The process of adoption gives adoptive parents time to consider why they want children. This is another difference between biological parents and adoptive parents. There is no doubt that adopting a child will bring different stresses than parents who have the opportunity to form families by birth, but the extra stresses do not mean extra problems.

The process begins with asking questions. What is important to you when thinking about adopting a child? Do you want a boy or a girl? Do you want an infant or an older child? Would you consider a special needs child? Do you realize some of the difficulties that may arise when raising a child? Then you must also consider your lifestyle now and how a child will fit into that lifestyle. Couples who have waited a long time to have a child may have formed friendships with other couples who do not have children. They must realize that their entire life will change as their child will have to come first. This will definitely be a new experience. There will be times when it is convenient to have a child and other times when it is not so convenient. .

Let's say that you have now have answered these questions and want to go forward and adopt a child. The next question is to find out what your options are. At this point you would need to read about adoption in general. You would need to find out what types of children are available to adopt and what are the different ways you could adopt. Some of the options are support groups, state adoption specialists, and information packets from the state that you live in. Once you have contacted an agency to help the first thing that will happen is a home study. A home study consists of gathering information about the prospective adoptive couple including educating the couple, preparing them for adoption, and interviewing the couple. This process can take from 2 months to 10 months, depending upon the particular agency. This is due to different training requirements and waiting lists for individual agencies. It is important to study the requirements for your state because that will determine the requirements that all adoptive parents must meet before being considered as adoptive parents.

As soon as the home study is finished it is time to start the placement process. At this time a child will be chosen who may fit in with the family. The time it will take to adopt a child at this point will of course vary. This depends on the type of adoption that is being considered. For example, a private adoption will require a lawyer. If an agency is being used the family may be one of many families that is picked by the expectant parents. Then there is a foster care adoption. This type of adoption gives the family information about a number of children who are waiting for a good home. It may also provide an opportunity to get to know the child before they are placed with a family because these children are allowed to receive visits from prospective parents. Also, if a child is taken into the home as a foster child, generally the family will be able to adopt the child once the child is available for adoption. Finally, there is international adoption. At this point the family may receive a referral. A referral is a child that is waiting to be adopted internationally. The referral will contain information about the child and give the prospective parents a chance to learn about one specific child. Generally, the parents are asked to read the information and wait 24 hours before making a decision. Also, all adoptions must be finalized in court.

The last and most important step is when a child is adopted. Now the work and rewards begin. It is time to parent the child. Many families may need support during the first year. It can take 6 months to a year for a child to become comfortable in a new home. Many times adopted children are passed from one home to another and have no security in their lives. Generally all of these children will go through two stages. The first is the honeymoon phase where the children do not seem to present many problems. The second is the testing phase where children will do things to anger the parents to see if they will be rejected once again. Slowly, the family will become more cohesive. The children will relax and be able to let their guard down and become children. Then, one day out of the blue the child will express his love to the parents and that is when the rewards really begin.

Gold