Adopting a Child? Here is What You Should Know
Are you considering adopting a child? Right now, you are likely very excited, hopeful, and a bit nervous about beginning your adoption journey. You are going to fulfill your dreams of becoming a parent at last. You are going to provide a child – your child – with a loving, forever home.
Adoption is an incredible journey of love, patience, and at times, paperwork. From the very beginnings of your adoption application, fast-forward to helping your child apply for college years down the road, you are bound to encounter many meaningful and joyous experiences along the way. If you are a family in Massachusetts, we welcome you start this journey with us!
Adoptions With Love is a non-profit, licensed, domestic, infant adoption agency helping Massachusetts families grow through adoption. Before you dive into the adoption process, we can also help you. Here are seven things we want you to know before adopting a child.
1. You do not need to be a “traditional” family to adopt a child.
You do not have to be a husband-wife household in order to adopt a child. The American family is changing. Today, less than half of all children in the United States live in a traditional family with a heterosexual mother and father in their first marriage. Some children today have single parents. Some have same-sex parents. No matter your family makeup, know that you have the right to adopt a child in Massachusetts.
2. Adoptive families are REAL families.
Families are no longer defined by DNA. Nowadays, family bonds transcend biology. As a prospective adoptive parent, it is important for you to know that families-by-adoption are as real as families-by-birth. It is not biology that will connect you with your child, but rather your unconditional love, devotion, and protection that will truly make you a parent.
3. Adoption is a courageous choice of love for a child’s well-being.
Adoption is not a matter of “giving up a baby.” Rather, it is expectant/birth parents choosing to give their baby a life beyond what they can provide at the time. It is a choice made with love, a love so big that the expectant/birth parents choose to put their child’s needs before their own. Adoption is a very difficult decision. All expectant/birth parents, no matter their background or reasons for placing their child, deserve to be respected.
4. Open adoption is the most common form of domestic adoption today.
Today, about 95 percent of domestic adoption plans are open, meaning that the majority of adoptive families have some extent of ongoing contact with their child’s biological family. Open adoption plans are often made in the best interest of the child: In an open adoption, a child does not have to fantasize about who his or her birth parents are. The child can ask questions about his or her history and maintain a stronger sense of identity having the answers he or she needs. In an open adoption, there are less insecurities carried by the child.
Open adoption is also positive for the parents involved. On one end, birth parents have the comfort of knowing their child is growing in a safe and loving home. This promotes better healing. On the other end, adoptive parents can benefit from having a good relationship with their child’s birth family and know important information like their child’s medical history. Adoptions With Love promotes open adoptions meaning that all of our waiting adoptive families have agreed to at least a semi-open adoption.
5. Adoption is a lifelong commitment.
Adoption does not simply mean adopting a newborn baby, or raising a child in need. Adopting a child means becoming a forever family. It means taking on an indescribable responsibility, one that can be both rewarding and challenging, as you raise your child for the next 18 years and beyond. Like any parent, you will need to provide for your child financially, emotionally, and physically in all aspects of life. You will also need to take on several different roles as a parent, from being a nurse at times to being a shoulder to cry on, from playing a storyteller to acting as a protector. Before you begin the adoption process, take some time to think about how parenthood will impact your life long-term. Ask yourself why you want to adopt, how you see adoption affecting your family, and if you are truly financially and emotionally prepared to support a child for life.
6. Pre-adoption counseling is a key pre-requisite to adopting a child.
Many adoption agencies will require prospective adoptive parents to participate in therapy or group sessions prior to adopting a child. These sessions are designed to prepare waiting families like you for parenthood, and allow you to interact with families who have already navigated the adoption process. By connecting and meeting with other adoptive families, you can gain insight into the process and share your personal feelings about adoption. At Adoptions With Love, prospective adoptive parents join two group sessions, where they can find pre-adoption support through other waiting families as well as our trained adoption counselors.
7. Finding a reputable, trustworthy adoption professional is crucial.
Adoption does not end after a child is placed into an adoptive home. This placement is just the beginning of a long journey for an adoptive family. The adoption agency you choose, therefore, should stand by your side throughout the entire process—not just before the adoption takes place, but also as the years go on. Your adoption agency professional should be a dedicated, reliable resource for your family as well as educated on the adoption process. Your agency should be available to answer your calls and make you feel comfortable at every step of the way.
At Adoptions With Love, we offer prospective family services before, at the time, and long after an adoption takes place. We guide you in designing your Adoptive Parent Profile and writing letters to the expectant/birth parents. We match you with expectant/birth parents and our agency attorney will finalize the adoption in court. Adoptions With Love has ongoing adoptive parent services and an active search and reunion program; we are here for you now and in the future.
To begin your adoption journey with Adoptions With Love, please call us at 617-964-4357. For specific steps on the adoption process in your area, please visit our article, How to Adopt a Child in Massachusetts.