Each year, millions of Americans consider adopting a child. Unfortunately, many rule out adoption due to lack of knowledge or fears of what they will encounter during the process. As a result, people’s dreams of having a family aren’t realized and children needing homes remain in orphanages or foster care.
The good news is that there are many excellent resources available to help guide you on your journey including some that allow you to learn about adoption from experts in the privacy of your own home. Moreover, many of the things that prospective adoptive parents fear about the adoption process turn out to either not to be problems at all or can be addressed if you’re willing to keep your options open.
Here are five common concerns and their answers:
1. “I would like a baby, but all our state adoption agency has are older children.” At first, it may seem impossible to adopt an infant or even a child under five. Private agencies, religious-related organizations, private adoptions, and foreign countries often offer infants and younger children.
2. “Local adoption agencies say I’m too old to adopt.” While it’s true that there are rules on age, they vary widely. The age restrictions of your state agency will likely vary from that of a private agency or that of foreign countries such as Russia, China, Korea, and Guatemala. Some look at the ages of both of the perspective parents, others only one. If you keep your options open there’s almost certainly a path for you to adopt.
3. “Will I be able to handle a special needs child?” The answer to this question largely depends on how much time, knowledge, and energy you have to devote to a child and how involved his or her challenges are. Usually you can get the knowledge you need to raise a child with special needs from your doctor, specialists with your local school district, and from online sites parents and professionals have created. Of course, the most important part is to know what you’re prepared to handle before you adopt, and work with your adoption professional to find the right match for you and your new child.
4. “How will a child fit into my family?” Adopted children blend into a family just like a biological child does. Once you get past the initial getting acquainted period, your adopted child will seem as naturally a part of your family as any child ever could. Plus, there are plenty of families with both adopted and biological children.
5. “How will an adopted child impact my life?” Virtually everyone says their child enriched their life far more than they ever imagined. There are very few “sure things” in life, but the joy and love an adopted child brings you are about as certain as anything can be.
Most people have lots of reservations when they start thinking about adoption. Adopting an older child, a child with special needs, or a child of another race or nationality all bring their own questions and concerns. Let me assure you that this only normal – and you are not alone. However, do not let these fears keep you from exploring your dream of starting or growing your family.
Adoption is one of life’s most wonderful endeavors. If you are thinking about adopting a child, please take time to get answers to your questions. There are a number of top sites, fellow parents, and accessible experts who are ready to help you.