When you think about adoption, you would normally picture a baby leaving the hospital just days after the birth. You would picture the adoptive couple strapping the little one into a carseat and driving away. While most adoptions involve newborns, several toddler and older child adoptions happen every year.
While making the decision to place your child for adoption is one of the most difficult decisions any parent will ever have to make, making an adoption plan for a toddler is uniquely hard.
You have tried everything to be able to provide a good life for your child. You have sacrificed so much to care for and meet the needs of your child, but in all honesty, some days, you don’t know how you are going to feed your sweet one dinner.
You work in a fast food restaurant, but only work 15 hours a week, which disqualifies you from receiving food stamps or other government assistance, because you have an income. You have no family that can help you. You have to move your child from couch to couch because you can’t afford to pay rent. You weren’t able to give your child Christmas presents this year, because you had to use the little money you had to buy diapers and medicine for your child. You look inside of your empty refrigerator, and you think “He just deserves better than this. He deserves more.”
You have thought about what it would be like for your child if they were in a home where they didn’t have to want for anything.
Making an adoption plan for a toddler comes with some additional considerations. You have seen your child’s first smile and steps. They call you mommy. They recognize you, and you are the one that they go to when they need something. When they are sad or hurt or scared, it is you that they seek out in a crowd to comfort them.
“How could I do that?” you think to yourself. “Won’t they be scared? Won’t they think that I didn’t love them or want them? I just don’t know if I could do that.” All the while, you look at them and think “but I want them to have stability. I want them to feel safe.”
You want them to wake up in their own room with a closet full of clothes. They go to the kitchen for breakfast and in front of them is a plate of pancakes decorated with a banana smiley face. They’re sister or brother waits with them at the bus stop. When they come home from school they play fetch with the family dog in the large backyard.
On Christmas morning, they have a pile of colorful presents under the tree, and a Christmas stockings, with their name etched on it, hanging from the fireplace.
These are the things that a parent thinks about when they are considering making an adoption plan for a toddler. It’s a grueling decision but it’s considered because they want their child to have everything they need.
When making this very important decision, there are many things to consider. Do I want my child to have other siblings? Do I want them to be with a family that has pets? Would I like them to live in a state that has snow so that they can experience a white Christmas?
Do I want to have an open adoption so that I can have visits with the family throughout their lifetime? Or will that be to hard for me? Should I only get the picture and letter updates. Do I want to meet the adoptive family or receive updates at all?
There are many things to think through, but this is your adoption plan; and these are your decisions to make.
This blog series will be about the ins and outs of toddler adoptions. The second blog will be about how the agency can help you develop an adoption plan, and transition your child into the new adoptive family.
The third will be a story of one of our brave birth moms who made an adoption plan for her little one.
Making the difficult decision to place your child for adoption might seem overwhelming. We hope these next few blogs will help you make an informed decision as you decide what’s best for you and your child.