Groom thyself before bringing a new member in your home and heart.
Adoption of a child is a wonderful concept. It is like bringing home a readymade bundle of joy. However, the process of welcoming a child means a lifelong commitment. Obviously, it requires thought, deliberation and effort. Here are some tips for the pre-adoption preparation.
Read extensively on this issue, not just books, magazines and periodicals but also access the Internet. This will enlighten you about the varied reasons and experiences associated with adoption. It will also keep you abreast with the state laws related with adoption. Nowadays, the couple that is adopting a child is advised to go for counseling. Therefore, you have to find out support groups, workshops, seminars and conferences that help you to make a thoroughly informed decision about adoption.
- You should be aware of some basic facts like:
- Infants are accessible to couples in the age group of 25-39 years.
- Toddlers are accessible to couples in the age group of 40-45 years.
- Parents with two children are considered on an individual basis with regard to adoption.
- Single women/men with good references are also allowed to adopt.
The applicant must be over 25 years of age. The citizenship requirements are different in different countries. For example, in United States of America, at least one partner must be a US citizen. If married, the couple must be married for at least 2 years.
All applicants must meet preadoptive requirements of the immigration laws, which includes an approved home study, and proper documentation of legal and financial status. In any country, an applicant with criminal record is not eligible
Other eligibility criteria revolve around many questions like: Are the people who are adopting facing or have faced any marital discord? What is the age of the natural child (if the couple has one) at the time of application for the adopted child? What is the income of the couple opting for adoption?
These criteria not only vary in different countries, but they are constantly updated. Therefore, anyone interested in adoption must be aware of the latest developments.
An honest look at yourself
Take an honest look at your beliefs on adoption. Judge your ability to accept full-time parenting of someone who is not actually your flesh and blood. Keep questioning yourself. Do you have the qualities of patience and perseverance? Do you get flustered when caught up in tricky situations of life? Do you have the flexibility required to face all odds as well as the strength to be consistent?
Are you financially sound in order to cover the medical and educational expenses and needs of an additional member? If yes, then can you handle a lifelong commitment?
What type of a child are you looking for? Think about the age and gender that you have in mind. What type of a child do you think will be accepted by your extended family and friend circle? Will you be able to accept a child even if he or she turns out to be much different than your expectations? Any person who is adopting a child should not look upon the act of adoption as a favour.
A person who is willing to adopt should not be driven by narrow considerations like sex and colour of the child. Some couples only want boys, while some want fair girls. However, such choices defeat the purpose of bringing home and accepting a stranger.
Choose an adoption agency with care
The agency should be able to provide you with a good counselor, as well as essential services (like support groups and parenting classes) before and after the placement of the adopted child in your family.
It is important that you attend an orientation session with the agency and understand their adoptive practices and policies. This will prepare you for a detailed interview about your financial background, education, views on adoption, parenting and family values and also the medical history.
Prepare for the entry of a new member
Before accepting the child in the family fold, get to know about his or her background, medical history and birthparents, of course if the information is available and accessible. This may not be necessary in the case of a very small child.
Musts before adoption
- Get a copy of the original birth certificate of the child.
- Get some health and insurance coverage for all members of the family, including the new one.
- Ensure that the parental rights of the natural parents have been terminated.
- Enroll yourself for some essential therapies and services to help you to adjust to the new entrant.
Prepare the other children for the entry of the new member
If you have an older child or two, it is very important that you explain the reasons for adding to the size of the family. You must prepare your natural children to share and care, adjust and change their schedules in order to make room for the new member of the family. Prepare them for a life with divided parental attention.
A study in the June 1985 Journal of Genetic Psychology surveyed the status of 44 families with only biological children, 45 families with only adopted children and 44 families with both biological as well as adopted children. The results indicated that adoptive placement had positive results in those families that consisted of a mixture of biological and adopted children.