Getting ready to adopt a baby? You are probably feeling very excited, but also a little overwhelmed. There is so much to consider before baby’s big arrival. If you are preparing to adopt in Massachusetts, you may be wondering what you need to do to prepare. We have created a mini checklist to keep you on track as you navigate the adoption journey.
- Find an adoption agency you can trust. This is one of the most important steps as you set out on this exciting and life-changing journey. Working with an adoption agency is required in Massachusetts, and will ensure your adoption is made official. You will work closely with your agency, so ensuring they are reliable and reputable is very important. Adoptions With Love is a full service, non-profit, private, domestic adoption agency that has been working with expectant/birth mothers around the country – yet only Massachusetts adoptive parents – for more than 33 years, since 1986. They have a proven track record of the most adoptive placements in Massachusetts. Adoptions With Love offers free consultations so you can know exactly how the adoption process works before you submit an application.
- Fill out an application. The next step, of course, is to fill out an application to start the adoption process. Once you have submitted your application, you will be contacted by a social worker at your adoption agency to set up the first meeting of the home study.
- Submit reference letters and documents. As you prepare for your Home Study process, you should gather up all of the necessary paperwork. Per Massachusetts law, you will need to provide health and financial records to prove that you are stable to raise a child, both physically and financially. You do not need to be rich to adopt a child, but you do need to be stable enough to support a growing family.
- Complete a background check and Home Study. The Home Study is a several month long process in which your adoption social worker will visit your home and meet your family. The Home Study will not only give your adoption agency a chance to get to know you, it will give you a chance to get to know your adoption agency.
- Enroll in baby care training sessions. If you are a first-time parent, this is a must-do. . It will help prepare you for parenthood and also give you a chance to meet other prospective parents. These are often offered through an adoption agency, and it is part of the home study process at Adoptions With Love for no extra charge.
- Share the news and enjoy the waiting period with loved ones. One of the most thrilling moments before adoption is announcing your big news to friends and family. Think about how you want to start spreading the news, and enjoy this time child-free. Once baby comes, you will have little time to sleep, let alone dine-out and go dancing. Having a baby changes everything in the most wonderful way, but you will also occasionally reminisce on the simpler days of sleeping in and going out with friends.
- Join a support group to meet other prospective adoptive families. Just as the baby care training sessions will help you, it will be beneficial to meet others people who are waiting to adopt. No one can quite relate to your circumstances like those going through the same journey. At Adoptions With Love, these groups are part of the home study process.
- Read up. Before baby arrives, read what you can about caring for babies. Whether you are interested in attachment parenting or do not even know what style of parenting you would like to practice, there are endless piles of parenting books to guide you along and share some practical information.
- Register for baby items. If this is your first baby, you may want to consider registering for some of the things that help make new parenthood just a little bit easier. With gear like a baby carrier, co-sleeper bassinet, and diapering materials, you will be better equipped, and feel more at ease, when it comes to bringing baby home.
- Prepare your home. Baby-proofing is a must when it comes to starting your parenting journey. Cover up those electrical outlets, remove or alter any sharp-edged furniture, and move glassware and cleaning products to an unreachable (or climbable) spot.
- Learn about your company’s family leave policy. Before your child is born, it is important to sit down with an HR rep to understand the ins and outs of your company’s maternity/paternity leave. Be prepared to fill out any necessary paperwork, and even read up on the laws surrounding time out of work.
- Explore your childcare options. Once you understand the time off, it is time to think about who will childcare once you return to work. Will you or your partner not return to work? Will you leave baby with a trusted relative, or pay a nanny to come to your house? Is there a clean and affordable daycare nearby? Explore all of your options and weigh the pros and cons of each before making your final decision.
- Choose a pediatrician. Your baby will be examined by a doctor in the hospital after birth and daily prior to discharge. All babies need a weight check within two days of discharge from the hospital. You will want to find a pediatrician with whom you feel comfortable. Are you looking for a traditional doctor? Do you want a more holistic approach in terms of medical care? Do your research and meet with pediatricians in your area before baby is born. The pediatrician can also help you understand medical records with which you are provided .
- Do something nice for yourself and/or your family. Just as you should enjoy the downtime before baby’s arrival, you may want to treat yourself to something special. Many couples choose to take a “baby moon” vacation – a last hurrah before becoming parents. If your budget or schedule does not allow for something that grand, think smaller. No matter what – treat yourself! A simple mani/pedi or dinner and a show may be just the thing to celebrate this special time.
- Keep a positive attitude. Waiting for an adoption to go through can be a nerve-wracking experience. You may be nervous about the birth, and the expectant/birth mother’s final decision. It is important, however, to keep a positive outlook and trust that everything will work out for the best. Just as parenthood is a marathon, not a sprint, the waiting part is just the warmup. Take heart. It will be well worth it in the long run.
For more tips on waiting for an adoption, please do not hesitate to reach out to Adoptions With Love. If you are a hopeful family in Massachusetts looking to start the adoption process, you may also call us at 617-964-4357. You can also read through our new eBook, “The Massachusetts Adoption Process: A Guide for Adoptive Parents” as you prepare to adopt.