Adopting a child is a major life-changing decision for any individual to make. There are a multitude of different factors that play into the readiness of a prospective parent. Even if our hearts and minds are in the right place, our wallets might not be on the same page. It’s important that we take time and are intentional with our planning and preparation when considering adoption.
There are three main areas of concern that need to be discussed and meaningfully reviewed before beginning the adoption process to ensure that you are totally prepared for the incredible journey that lies ahead.
Taking care of a baby is demanding, so adoption agencies want to make sure that prospective parents will be able to handle the long hours and physical work. Of course, this does not exclude individuals with disabilities, and many become great adoptive parents.
Agencies also want to know that you will be able to take care of the child until he or she becomes an adult. Because of this, it is not uncommon for a 40-year age limit to be instituted by agencies. Some will have more flexibility on this issue than others, so talk with your local adoption agency.
The house that a child is raised in is an incredibly important factor in his or her development. It’s imperative that the household is stable. If you are in a relationship, this includes making sure your relationship is stable. Some agencies will hold a couple’s counseling session to make certain you and your partner are prepared.
Raising a child costs a lot of money — around $233,610 to be exact, according to a study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Obviously, you don’t have to have a quarter of a million dollars upfront; adoption agencies just want to make sure that you will have a regular source of income to provide for a child.
You will likely have to raise money for your adoption, whether via fundraising, saving or some other means. But the financial aspect of adoption is not an unclearable hurdle. As long as the place you plan to raise your child is well-kept and stable, you may be in a good financial place to adopt.
And last, but certainly not least, any prospective parent needs to be sure they will be able to handle the many different emotions that may accompany adoption and the long, often frustrating adoption process. If you are looking to adopt after struggles with conceiving a child with your partner, consider the following question: will you be able to love and bond with a child that is not biologically related to you? If not, take some time to get in the right headspace or perhaps consider a different avenue for parenthood.
The many different challenges that are presented to adoptive parents can be very stressful. Emotional preparation is necessary for parents who are going to adopt: prepare for the scenario that things don’t work out. While we hope this doesn’t happen, at the very least, prepare for lots of waiting.