If you are preparing to adopt, the anticipation can be overwhelming. However, the process can be long and tedious – involving numerous checks and at least a six-month period of working with the adoption agency to prepare for the task ahead.
To help you and your family move through this process as smoothly as possible, we have some advice to help you mentally prepare as well as physically.
Approach adoption without any preconceptions or firm expectations
Adoption is a unique journey for everyone, and it continues to evolve as a process and experience. Therefore, your expectations of your future child(ren) and your ability as a parent should be as realistic as possible. Try to avoid putting pressure on yourself – no one get’s it right all the time!
If you have any concerns or worries about adoption, being honest with yourself, your social worker and your partner is key. This will help to enhance your skills as a prospective parent and will reinforce your status within the process. Honesty is seen as a strength and not a weakness through the adoption process.
Prepare for the uncertainty that comes with parenting a child with a previous history
There will only be so much information available during the adoption process, so as a parent you will need to be prepared for the fact that there are very little guarantees when it comes to raising a child. The issue of uncertainty tends to be more prominent when the child is really young, so make sure you seek the support you need to deal with this.
Set up a support system
Setting up a support system before you child arrives will help you to feel more at ease and confident as you prepare for adoption. In many ways, your friends and family will be adopting with you, so make sure they feel able to express their thoughts and emotions along the way. Your support system should also include other adoptive families – especially those who are going through the process at the same time as you – as they can give you first hand advice.
Try to relate to the birth family of your child(ren)
To reinforce the relationship with your child/children in the future, it can be valuable spending time with their birth mother or parents. This kind of approach will help to ease any conflicting feelings you may have, and will also aid your bonding, understanding and support towards your adoptive children.