Deciding to opt for adoption is a wonderful gift you can give to a child in need, and to your family. It is a very big decision, however, and many people find they need to prepare themselves, their lives and their homes for this momentous step.
When it comes to adoption, there is a lot to consider and think about. There are different types of adoption and each brings different factors you need to consider. From public and private adoption agencies to the decision of whether you could adopt siblings or are only prepared for one child, there is a lot to weigh.
Making the best and most informed decisions you can doesn’t only effect you, either. The child or children you are bringing into your life deserve to have the best home possible. That can only happen if you do your due diligence during the adoption process.
To help you with that, here are 6 adoption tips you might consider while making your decision.
1. You Might Need a Lawyer
Adoption is not a straightforward process. It involves a lot of steps and a lot of people.
Due to that, you may find you need the help of a family law attorney. Adoption attorney fall under family law, so this is a good place to look for an attorney to help you with your adoption.
An adoption or family law attorney can give you adoption tips as you go through the process. However, they also do so much more than that.
Pretty much all adoptions require an adoption attorney. There is a legal side to the adoption process and that is something you’ll want an expert’s help with. Adoption attorneys can help you with the legal paperwork, as well as partner you with an adoption agency and other professionals you’ll need to be in contact with.
An adoption lawyer might help you deal with problems and hurdles you didn’t even anticipate encountering. They know the entire process from start to finish and can guide you through the trickiest bits thanks to their years of expertise. The initial investment in an adoption attorney will help you a lot in the long run.
You also may be in a more complicated legal position that requires a little extra groundwork. Beyond just adoption tips, you should also think broadly about your legal situation before going into adoption.
For example, if you already have legal issues such as child custody or divorce you may need to clear those up before proceeding with an adoption. The adoption process can be very demanding and strict. It’s best to make it as smooth as possible by addressing other legal issues ahead of time.
It’s good to find attorneys and other adoption professionals that are local to where you live. Local professionals will have deeper insights about the process you are about to embark on. Beyond just a lawyer, you could also look for local agencies, social workers and facilitators.
Any time you engage with a professional about the adoption process, it’s good to check their references and reviews. These days, it is easy to look up any professional running a business. Even when it comes to adoption, you should check on referrals and reviews to make sure you are working with an expert who can help you.
2. Figure Out If You Need to Change Your Home
Experts can help you with all the external parts of the adoption process, but a lot of this work will be personal. Taking in a child is a major step and one of the best adoption tips is to look honestly and deeply at your own life.
A good place to start for this is your home. Your home is concrete. You know it well. This can be an easier way to start imagining your life with a child and addressing any challenges you might have.
The most obvious question is whether or not your home is safe for a child. Adoption tips for making your home safe for a child will necessarily change depending on the age of the child you intend to adopt. Infants have different needs than toddlers, who have different needs than older children.
It’s good to know how many children you want to adopt and what age range you are thinking about. This information is vital to making your home as comfortable and hospitable – and safe – as possible for a child.
When it comes to preparing your home, there are some obvious things you can do. We all know that babies and toddlers need to be protected from even ordinary household items. Small things they can choke on and sharp things they can reach are obvious danger signs.
However, there are some general adoption tips that you can apply to your home no matter the age of the child. For example, you might look into home alarm systems
that will make your home more safe and secure in general.
Also, take a look in your fridge and cupboards. Do you have the types of foods children like to eat? Other things to consider are the number of bedrooms you have, spaces where toys might be stored and the general neighborhood. Are there other children of similar ages in the neighborhood? Will your child be able to have their own bedroom as they get older, something teens in particular want and need?
All of these factors will impact not only your child’s happiness, but also your own.
3. Figure Out If You Need To Change Any Aspects of Your Life
Your house is a good thing to think about when you’re considering adopting a child. However, you should consider more deeply while weighing your decision.
Think about your life itself – and not just the tangible parts – when thinking about adoption. You need to consider things like your schedule, your habits and any particular needs you have. Do you go to the gym at the same time every day? That might not be possible if you adopt an infant or young child. Is that a shift you can make?
Switching up your workout schedule sounds like a small thing compared to adopting a child, but it’s indicative of the kind of mindset you need to have. You will need to be flexible if you plan to bring a child into your life. Some things you take for granted now might have to change.
It’s impossible to predict all the changes a child could bring to your life, but some include: Meal times, the types of things you eat, free time and how it’s spent, home layout and bed time.
That is not to say any of these changes are bad. They are easily outweighed by the joy of adopting a child. Even so, they must be weighed as part of your decision.
You also should consider some of your specific needs. If you have special dietary needs, use mobility aids, or have other special considerations, you may need to find a way to balance them with the things a child needs.
Lots of adoption tips will include information about how to feed children, but that doesn’t always include how you feed yourself. Your diet may well be very different from a child’s and that’s something you might need to plan around while considering adoption.
4. Consider the Child’s Needs
Children need a lot of things. Our list of adoption tips would not prove very helpful if we didn’t take a moment to talk about some of those needs.
The specific things a child will need to be happy and healthy will vary a lot. There are some general guidelines, however.
Cleanliness is always high on the list. Children, unfortunately, can get things like lice and pink eye very easily. They’re messy, whether that’s when they’re eating or when they’re playing. It’s good to simply be aware of this fact.
Entertainment is crucial as well. It might sound like a frivolous aside. Worrying about toys when there is so much else to worry about can, understandably, be overwhelming. But play time isn’t just fun for children; it also aids their development and helps them learn. Make sure you have age-appropriate toys for the child you intend to adopt.
You will also need age-appropriate furniture and clothing. Take the bed, for example. You can’t just get any bed. Infants need baby cribs, while older children need more space and a more normal bed to sleep in.
This brings up the next point in our list of adoption tips:
5. Learn Everything You Can
We can give you lots of adoption tips, but ultimately every child, and therefore every adoption, is unique. You should learn everything you possibly can about the child, the agency and yourself while you are going through the adoption process.
It’s especially important to learn what you can about the child you are planning to adopt. Unless you are adopting a newborn infant, this child has had some sort of life before you. You should find out about it from foster parents, orphanage directors or, if it’s possible, the birth parents.
This can help you learn about routines or habits the child might want, or even need, to maintain. You could find out about the child’s favorite toys and games, their favorite foods, their favorite movies or television shows.
You might even discover medical information about the child. Perhaps they already see doctors or have a pediatric dentist they’ve had to go to. It’s good to know these kinds of things because you might need to continue seeing those doctors with the child after you adopt.
All this information also helps you to be the best caregiver possible. Back in 2007-2008, more than 10% of children aged 2-5 were found to be obese. This isn’t a healthy start for a child’s life and can have lasting effects on them even into their adult lives. Be the best parent you can by learning if your child has any medical needs and how you can best care for them.
Whether it’s eye care, dental hygiene, weight management or some other aspect of health, knowing as much as you can about your child will let you be an excellent adoptive parent to them.
6. Plan For Emergencies
You want everything to go perfectly for you and your child, but unfortunately that’s often not how life works. Accidents and emergencies just happen sometimes and the best thing you can do is be prepared for them.
The final item in our list of adoption tips: Plan for emergencies. Kids play rough. They get hurt. They frequently need medical care for things we can’t even foresee.
You can’t stop this from happening entirely, but you can be ready for it. Try to get familiar with what kind of doctors and emergency care facilities are available close to your home. Have a first aid kit at home and know where you would go if you had to get to an emergency care facility quickly.
None of this is a happy thought, but it is necessary that we include adoption tips for the worst case scenarios and not just the best case. By being prepared, you can ensure you have the best possible outcome in an otherwise bad situation.
Open Your Heart and Home
Adoption is an incredibly difficult, long and complicated process, but the rewards at the end for both you and a child in need cannot be overstated. These adoption tips will hopefully give you a broad overview of the kinds of things you need in order to get through the process and give a child the happy and healthy new home they deserve.
No matter how old a child you plan to adopt, ensure your home and life is set up to give them a great living situation. Take your time and have patience during the adoption process. Consult with experts who can help you navigate the hurdles and hoops you have to jump through. In the end, it will all be well worth the effort. Never lose sight of the true goal of all this, which is to give a child a good, loving, healthy home where they can grow up surrounded by care.