Do you desire to have children? How do you know when to pursue adoption?
Deciding if adoption is the right choice for you may take some time. It’s a decision that needs to be thought of thoroughly. Do some soul-searching to see if this is really the right decision for you. What’s the dynamic of your family now? Is it the right time to start or grow your family? Have you and your spouse or significant other communicated a plan on how your family dynamics will be changed? Are you both ready for that change?
State Adoption Laws
One of the first things to do is to familiarize yourself with your state’s policies. If you’re considering adopting a child born in a different state, you will need to understand both states’ laws. Another important piece is to hire an adoption attorney and/or an adoption agency who is well informed about your state’s adoption laws. If you’re pursuing international adoption, your lawyer and/or agency will be able to assist with the details regarding adoption outside of your home country.
The Adoption Process
Gather as much information as possible because life will never be the same as you know it once the process is final. Join a social group. Find expert advice and testimonials as you navigate through the adoption journey. Whether it’s choosing your adoption agency or team of professionals to conduct the home study to waiting for a positive feedback, each step is as equally important.
Get to know the process from beginning to end, so that there are no unforeseeable circumstances. Some processes may take longer than others. It varies per case, whether the families know each other; is it a domestic or an international adoption? There are so many variables that play a role throughout the process. Patience is key when pursuing adoption.
Will There be a Bond
Attachment is said to be a connection between people that allows them to place meaning to their relationship. It allows the child to experience a sense of trust, safety, and security. It is developed over time as the parent consistently aims to meet the physical and emotional needs of the child. Although, research has shown that it’s best when attachment is formed before the age of three, it is still possible to form new attachments after the age of three. However, there will be more factors to take into consideration in order to form the new attachment. Seeking family counseling is strongly encouraged to help the transition for both parents and child. Counseling can be for as long as needed. In some states, counseling can be granted for free by your county. This might take some digging or simply an inquiry through your county.
According to research, children adopted as infants seem to display little or no difference in their level of attachment from non-adopted infants. The differences will start becoming very visible when the infants are past the age of six months. Once the infants start growing beyond six months, they might start showing more advanced signs of distress by displaying the following: uncontrollable crying, lack of interest in playing or eating, withdrawal, uncontrollable crying and possible weight loss or sickness.
Ways to Develop Attachment
Regardless of your child’s history, he/she has the ability to form a solid, healthy, well-attached relationship with you. There are ways to enhance and support the relationship that the parent desires to develop with their children. Remember your child’s behaviors should not be taken personally. Allow them to express their hurt and frustration. As they learn to express verbally, they will likely say things that are not pleasant, for example, “you’re not my real mom or dad,” “I wish you were dead.” Any form of rejection towards you should not be looked as a personal issue. Those are the moments that can draw you both closer if you approach them with love, patience and understanding.
Being emotionally available and empathetic will allow your child to see you express a range of emotions which will help them to understand and express their own emotions.
Associate your word with actions by telling them that you missed them while they were away. Affirm them by showing consistency with your attention and affection.
Develop routines and rituals. Good habits create a less stressful environment and increase confidence. Naturally, routines and rituals will change as the child grows. Going to the park mid-afternoon may be fun at the age of 2 or 3 but may not be so much fun when the child turns 6 or 7. He or she might want to ride his/her bike around the block with mom/dad instead.
Create a firm foundation early on so that your child is not spoiled or that it doesn’t get harder to set certain boundaries later on.
There are a lot of books on attachment to peruse through to gain additional insights on where you are in your process. Join a Facebook group and share your thoughts and experiences with parents of like-mindedness. There’s a wide community out there to help you along with your journey.
Is Adoption the Right Choice –
Make sure you’re not feeling pressured to become a parent by outside sources or because your married friends are now parents. Adopting children can be a wonderful experience and a rewarding journey for both the parent and the child if pursued with the right heart and/or frame of mind.
Surround yourself with friends and family who will treat your adopted family like a real family. Some people may not throw you a shower or a welcome party when you’re ready to bring your child home but if you’re in the right community, folks will know what to do to celebrate you and your family as you bring your child home.
If you do decide not to pursue adoption – that’s fine too! You know best what’s right for you. Do not make a decision that you will spend the rest of life regretting because someone told you that adoption is the right choice. Trust your gut no matter what your decision is, it is the right decision!