Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Things Parents Wish They'd Known Before The Adoption Process

If you're one of the millions of adoptive families who has started and completed an adoption, you know that like most things in life, hindsight is 20/20.  Usually.  But what are some of the things most adoptive parents wish they'd known before or during the adoption process? 

Adoptions take time.  Some take a short time, some take a long time.
The first thing most parents say is..."How long will it take?"  And what's the answer? We don't know.

That's a rough one, isn't it? But truthfully, each adoption situation is very different and there is no set timeline.  Some adoptions are very quick, some take much longer.  Most of the time, however, adoptive parents at Heart to Heart do not have the full 9 months to prepare that biological parents get.  There is no such thing as a "typical adoption", so part of the preparation process is being ready - and willing - to jump when the situation presents itself.

Adoption is a roller coaster!
The adoption process is difficult, yet rewarding.  There are many ups and downs, and most are out of your control.  But adoptive parents must be thorough and diligent with what they are asked to do (and let's be honest - sometimes it feels redundant and excessive!), and then be willing to let the process unfold in its own timetable.  In other words...there are just some things you can't control.  But part of the great strength of adoptive parents is the realization that things do work out, one way or another, the way they are supposed to.

Get support from others who have adopted!
Talk with other families and couples who have been through the process before.  We gain strength by sharing experiences.  And while no two adoptions are alike, the processes can be similar.  And it's always nice to know you're not alone!

Don't be afraid to clearly state your family's preferences. 
Don't ever feel that because you're adopting a child, you don't have the right to state your needs.  So many prospective adoptive couples seem to feel guilty or sheepish when they are asked to state what they are - and are not - willing and able to deal with.  Take time, think it over, and then state what will and will not work for your family; race, age, special needs, etc. No one lives the rest of your life but you, so it is imperative to make the best possible decisions that impact your lives forever.

Ask every question you have.
Never be afraid to ask a question - ever!  The experienced adoption professionals at Heart to Heart know how difficult it is to sort through all the information, especially the challenges of transracial adoption -and we are here to help you!  Our purpose is to create loving families and we
are here to educate, help, and support you along the way.

Expect the unexpected!
Enough said.  Things happen along the way - it's the nature of the adoption world.  Being positive, flexible, and constantly communicating with the agency are the best ways to help create a smooth adoption experience.

Now all of you experienced adoptive families, what are some of the things you wish you'd known before you began this adventure?

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