When an Orphan Dies
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Book Review: The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman
The choice to adopt is a big one. It’s not a choice to be made lightly because it’s a choice that has a dramatic impact not just on your life, but on the life of a child.
Before moving forward with the formal adoption process, it’s important to ask yourself some key questions. The answers to these questions are vital if you want your choice to result in a long, happy life for you and your child:
1) Why do I want to adopt a child?
This is the big question, arguably the most important of all, therefore it is the first you should ask yourself. Why do you want to adopt?
The answer may seem obvious at first: You want to have a family. It’s best to look past the obvious and dig a little deeper, though. Perhaps years of trying to have a child but being unable to has led to your choice.
Maybe you want to add to your existing family but don’t want to give birth again. Maybe you enjoy caring for those in need. Or maybe you have a non-traditional family structure that makes adoption one of your only choices when it comes to having children.
Whatever your reasons, it’s important for you to be honest with yourself about them, because the answer to this question can have an impact on how the process affects your life.
2) Am I ready for the commitments of parenthood?
Make no mistake, this is a question all prospective parents must face, whether they are adopting or giving birth – and it’s a big question indeed, because parenthood is a lot of responsibility.
In the case of adoption, you will be taking in a child who may have been waiting years to find a family. It’s your responsibility to ensure that family is a good one, so be sure you take this question seriously and think on it deeply.
3) What kind of child do I want?
On the surface this may sound like an impersonal question, but in fact it’s an important one to answer. The child’s age and gender, their race and/or nationality, whether or not they are a special needs child, these are all factors in your decision that will have an impact on not just your day-to-day life with your child, but on the rest of your life.
4) Are you emotionally ready to not be biologically related to your child?
For some people, this is not an issue. For others, it’s a topic that can prompt intense internal struggles. Some never think twice about it. Others are struck with sadness, especially if they are adopting because they cannot have a biological child.
Remember, you are going to be a parent to this child; you are going to guide them in life. Therefore, it’s important for you to have an honest confrontation with this question.
5) Do I understand the adoption process and the differing types of adoptions?
Adoption is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. There are several types of adoptions, and depending on that and other factors the process can differ from case to case. Before entering into an adoption, it’s best to ensure you have a decent understanding of the process. That will allow you to make more informed decisions.
If you can answer these five questions and you feel good about your answers, it may be time to contact an adoption specialist to begin the process.
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