Adopting a child is a major decision, and one that many people struggle with, not due to a lack of desire for a child, but out of concern that it might not be the right timing. Almost any parent will tell you that there is no such thing as the perfect time to bring a child into your family -- you can always be a little more settled, a little more financially ready, a little less anxious -- but there are certainly steps you can take to make your family as ready as possible for the big adventure that is adoption.

 

Stability and Health

One of the most important factors of being ready to adopt is being able to provide a child with a stable home. While single people can certainly adopt, if you are in a relationship and trying to adopt as a couple, most adoption agencies will want assurance that your relationship is stable. Many home studies will actually include a few sessions of couples counseling to assure the adoption agency that this will not be a problem.

You will also need to be sure you are physically able to care for a child. This does not by any means exclude disabled people from adopting! Many disabled people become adoptive parents; the only consideration here is that you are able to care for the child until they are adults. To this end, there is on occasion an age restriction as well. Some agencies put a 40-year limit on adoption, saying you cannot adopt a child more than 40 years younger than you. This is often handled on a case-by-case basis, however, so speak with your adoption agency for more details if you are concerned about that aspect.

Financial Readiness

This is one that causes many potential adoptive parents concerns, but isn't the huge hurdle you might be worried about. Yes, adoption can be expensive. You'll need to work out how to pay for the adoption, whether that's saving over time, fundraising, or financing. Beyond that, however, there is a pervasive stereotype that only rich families adopt, which simply isn't true. As long as you are financially stable enough to provide for your child, you are ready in this aspect.

When an adoption agency comes to your home for a home study, they aren't looking at how big your house is or how expensive your furnishings appear. They simply need to see that you can provide a safe environment for a child. Don't think that you have to put off adoption just because you live in an apartment; as long as your home is safe, clean and stable that is a good sign of your readiness.

Emotionally Preparedness

This one's a biggie -- are you emotionally prepared to adopt? Many people who are looking to adopt are doing so after an extended fertility struggle. If this sounds like you, consider if you think you will have difficulty bonding with a child who is not genetically yours. Many families struggle with some held-over frustration after infertility, and counseling can help with that immensely.

Aside from that, the adoption itself can be a long and arduous process that can take months or even years. Be sure that you are ready for the waiting, as well as the potential disappointments when a birthmother doesn't work out for your family. The wait is worth it in the end, but it is certainly an emotional roller coaster you'll need to prepare yourself for.