According to the Adoption Network, about 140,000 children are adopted yearly in the United States. The adoption process can be complex, emotional, and full of legal and financial factors. While adoption can be the most fulfilling journey, there can be countless questions, and to help ease into the process, we are looking at ways to prepare for adoption in honor of National Adoption Month.
Preparing for the arrival of your bundle of joy can be an emotional and exhausting process. Before embarking on the lifelong journey, do your research. There is a lot of information to learn and understand about adoption. From the dialogue, adoption arrangements (open, closed, semi, etc.), and finding the right agency to health, financial and residential requirements. A great place to start is to research resources online, adoption courses, books, or local resources. The more you know, the more prepared you will be for the adoption process.
Choose an adoption agency
Once you’ve decided to adopt, choosing an adoption agency will help the experience go as smoothly as possible unless opting for private adoption. Research various agencies before choosing one and make sure they are licensed. It’s essential to find the right fit for you and your family. Many agencies also specialize in either domestic or international adoptions. Attend informational sessions and ask questions about their availability throughout the process, what support services are available, how adoptive parents are screened, adoption disruptions, support after the adoption, and so much more. Most importantly, speak with parents who have already used the agency so you can hear their process and ask questions.
Consider which type of adoption is right for you
You’ve done your research, and now you have to decide which type of adoption to pursue, whether open, semi-open, or closed; both have pros and cons. An open adoption is when you have a high level of communication in the relationship between a birth mother and the parents raising her child. The relationship usually includes phone calls, videos, and chats. When you choose a closed or confidential adoption, no information or contact information is shared between the adoptive parents and the birth mother, and the birth certificate is essentially sealed. A semi-open adoption is when there is less direct contact between the adoptive parents and the birth mother, allowing both parties to keep their privacy. An agency caseworker or a mediator will pass information, such as photos, letters, etc., between the two parties. Depending on the state you live in, the laws vary, adoption agencies or what the adoptive family wants, the circumstances of the adoption may change, and you can request more or less contact.
Create a support network
No matter how you bring a child into the world, whether via natural birth, surrogacy or adoption, creating a support network is beneficial. Adoption is a unique venture, and not all adoption stories are alike, so a circle or community of parents who have gone through the process and can relate will help you navigate and face the challenges, along with celebrating exciting wins throughout the journey. Check out parent groups such as Creating a Family or The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), which supports, educates, and inspires adoptive families to thrive.
Be prepared to wait
The start of the adoption journey is very time-consuming learning about adoption, getting to know your agency and counselor, preparing for your home study, filling out forms, and more. The waiting period can be one of the most challenging times, so staying busy can be helpful. Remain positive, spend time with your partner and loved ones and prepare for what's to come. Consider taking a new parent class, reading books about adoption and parenting, preparing your adoption story, and keeping your spirits up by doing something rewarding such as enjoying hobbies, exploring nature, or learning something new. At the end of the day, it will be worth the wait.
Get all the essentials and make your house a home
One of the fun parts of having a new child is preparing your living space and really making it a home. From baby clothes to nursery items, feeding items and our fully integrated all-in-one travel system, Doona Car Seat & Stroller, the shopping list is endless, but it’s important to prepare for your new bundle of joy with all the basics.
Cocooning is key
Whether it’s been months or years of planning, bringing your little one home from the hospital is one of the most exciting and intense experiences and will solidify it was all worth the wait. The first few days and weeks will be a transition. Let go of some responsibilities and spend quality time with your child, known as "cocooning" or "nesting." Soak in all the first few moments and establish familiarity to ensure complete trust, comfort, and safety. Routines are also helpful and allow you to create time and space to get to know each other.
Adoption is an ongoing and ever-changing experience. The process may have ups and downs, but the results are immeasurable and not only change your life forever but the life of your child. While we know this doesn’t scratch the surface, we at Doona hope this gives you new things to consider as you enter the exciting path to adoption. Our mission is to truly impact parents’ lives by providing tools that simplify parenthood and make life on the go easy with our Doona Car Seat & Stroller and Liki Trike.