Preparing (Or Not) for Adoption

Bringing home a new child requires plenty of advance preparation, whether you’re giving birth or adopting. Adoption brings a host of new concerns about whether parents are doing enough to make themselves ready for this new child. Prospective parents spend months pouring over literature, looking at infant pictures, and researching the very best ways to go about an adoption.

There seems to be an endless list of tasks that need accomplished and a very short amount of time in which to complete them.

What can you do to thoroughly prepare for bringing home a new child? Consider some of these top things that experienced adoptive parents recommend doing before your little one comes home.

Read the books your agency recommends.

If you’re adopting through a private agency, chances are that you have some required reading to do. Don’t take this task lightly, assuming that you already know how to parent. Parenting an adopted child may look different than you anticipate, and you’ll be grateful for the education these resources provide.

Imagine all of the unique things that you will come up against as an adoptive parent: identity issues, questions about birth parents, and possibly even concerns about being a transracial family. Your agency probably recommends specific reading material for a reason, so be sure to seriously consider what they recommend.

Establish a support system.

You’ve waited for this day for months or maybe even years. The day you bring home a new baby from the hospital is fraught with tender emotions ranging from excitement to fear. You’re amazed by the new child that is absolutely your own, but parenting comes with its share of difficulty no matter what.

Surround yourself with people who are supportive of your adoption and understand what you’re going through. You may want to find support groups or other means of connecting with seasoned adoptive parents. This provides you with an outlet for asking questions, getting ideas, and creates a sense of community for you and your new child.

Get your home ready.

New mothers may not need to hear this advice twice once they start nesting. This phenomenon often occurs in adoptive mothers as well. The desire to prepare your home for a new child can be extremely overwhelming, but you’ll be glad you did. Wash all of the baby clothes, assemble the crib, and put away the new toys. Once you get the call, you want to be able to rest easily knowing everything is already taken care of.

Put all your services in place.

You probably have some vague details about things you’re open to accepting in a new child, such as an age range. Figure out what services you will need in place before the child is placed in your home. These could include a pediatrician, a dentist, or a daycare program that features evening hours. Making the decisions in advance gives you greater peace of mind once the baby comes home.

Take time to invest your marriage.

If you’re married, you may want to consider taking some time to reinvest in your marriage before an adoptive placement occurs. Similar to a “babymoon,” you may want to take a trip or just a staycation to spend time with your spouse before undertaking new parenting responsibilities. It may be quite some time before you’re able to take a date night or an evening with just the two of you, so soak up the romance to sustain you for a while.

Prepare your kitchen.

The last thing you want to think about with a new child in your home is what you can cook for dinner. Start meal planning and freezer cooking now to avoid this evening dilemma for the first few weeks. Having the food on hand to make convenient meals makes your life significantly easier as you adjust to having a new child in the house.

There are plenty of ways to go about this, whether you want to make frozen casseroles or dump a bunch of ingredients into a bag for a delicious slow cooker meal. If you don’t own a slow cooker, this is a great time to purchase one so you can throw dinner together during naptime. When dinnertime rolls around, your meal is hot and ready to plate.

Research insurance options.

There are a lot of mundane tasks that go into an adoption, and insurance is simply another one of those necessary evils. You may need to check with your insurance company to verify that you can place the child on your insurance plan. Depending on the details of your adoption, it may be several months before the adoption is officially finalized. Ask what their policy is when it comes to adding adopted children and do some research on other options if they won’t be covered.

Prepare for the legality of adoption.

In order to finalize the adoption, you’re going to need a lawyer. Some families may work directly with an attorney in order to find a birth mother for their adoption. However, if you have gone through an agency that allows you to choose a family lawyer, be sure to do your research.

Ask about the estimated cost, how they bill, and what experience they have handling adoptions similar to yours. Selecting an attorney who specializes in family law or adoptions will be much simpler before the child arrives in your home.

You will also need to prepare to update all of your personal legal documents, such as life insurance policies and wills. With a new dependent on the way, you may need to add them as a beneficiary. Contact your insurance companies or your attorney to determine what documentation, if any, is needed to make these crucial changes.

Preparing may not prepare you.

Ultimately, nothing will truly prepare you for what it’s like to bring your child home for the first time. The guidelines here can give you peace of mind by allowing you to rest assured that you did all of the “right” things. Adoption is a wonderful and beautiful process that always brings some unexpected items though.

No matter how many books you read, you may never feel fully prepared to be a parent again until the child is placed in your arms.

Do what you can to adequately get yourself ready for the adoption of your new son or daughter, but rest assured that you don’t need to be perfect. There will be many things you figure out along the way. However, you’ll never regret the time you spent preparing for this very moment.

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