Preparing to adopt a child is a big moment. You may be feeling excited, nervous, even overwhelmed at times. Becoming a parent, no matter how you become a parent, is life-changing. You will have challenging moments, of course, but you will also enjoy a lifetime of beautiful memories and unconditional love. As you prepare to take on this new chapter, however, you will want to get yourself fully ready, before the adventure begins.
When a hopeful parent is getting ready to welcome a child, there is some important prep-work that needs to be done. With adoption, there are some important t’s to cross and i’s to dot before bringing baby home. Read on for some things you should keep in mind as you prepare to adopt.
- Starting the Process
Working with an adoption agency is required in many states, including Massachusetts. Before you really begin, it is important to find an experienced adoption agency you can trust. Adoptions With Love, for example, is a full-service agency and has been working with prospective adoptive families and expectant/birth parents since 1986. Our team of expert social workers, counselors, and lawyers can guide you through the process of adopting your child every step of the way. Our free consultation will provide you with information you need before filling out an application.
- Knowing the Requirements
Before you begin your adoption journey, you should familiarize yourself with the legal requirements to adopt. Adoption laws vary by state. In Massachusetts, prospective adoptive parents must meet the following criteria before adopting a baby:
- You are an adult over 21 years of age
- You either rent or own a home
- Your home has adequate privacy, safety, and space for all family members, including your soon-to-be child (children of the same gender may share a bedroom)
- You attend a training course that prepares you for adoption and parenthood
- You to provide personal letters of recommendation, in addition an adoption application
- You complete a home study before being approved to adopt
For more adoption requirements in Massachusetts, check out our free eBook— Preparing for Adoption: A Guide for Adoptive Parents in Massachusetts.
- Preparing for the Home Study
An important part of the adoption preparation process is getting yourself ready for the Home Study. This is a several month long process that involves multiple visits to your home by your adoption agency, and in-person interviews of you and all of the family members in your household.
Not only does the home study process allow for your adoption agency to ensure that your home is safe, stable and healthy (physically, mentally, and emotionally), it also gives you a chance to get to know your adoption agency and for them to really get to know you. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and show your adoption social worker who your family really is. Keep in mind – this is all in baby’s best interests, to ensure you are ready to bring baby home.
- Creating an Adoption Profile
An adoptive parent profile is a collection of photos, letters and information about you and your family. This is a booklet that expectant/birth mothers will browse when trying to choose an adoptive family. Your adoption profile should include your most precious stories – from your love story, to your journey towards adoption. You should also share details about your values, hobbies, and dreams for your family. Your adoption agency can help you put this profile together. Your profile will give an expectant/birth mother better insight as to who you are as a person, and how you will raise your child.
- Your Adoption Story
As you prepare to adopt, think about your child’s adoption story. How will you share this story with your future child? This is an important element of your child’s story, and it will be a very piece in forming his identity as he grows.
Remember, adoption is no longer the secretive topic it once was in the past. Parents are encouraged to openly discuss their child’s adoption with honesty and positivity, from the very start. Ask yourself: How will you work the topic into everyday discussions? How will you honor your child’s birth mother, and share her story and heritage in a positive light?
- Your Adoption Plan
An important part of the adoption process is coming to an agreement with an expectant/birth mother about the adoption plan itself. Most birth mothers today choose some form of open or semi-open adoption. This can take on different meanings and forms of communication for different families. Some birth mothers choose to keep in touch with their child’s adoptive family through occasional emails. Perhaps you would like to see one another in person once a year. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your adoption plan, and the form of contact may evolve over the years to accommodate a growing child. Your adoption agency can help you come to an agreement with the expectant/birth mother that makes everyone feel comfortable.
- Preparing for Life with Baby
A baby changes everything, and adopting your child will certainly change many aspects of your life. Before you adopt, consider the ways things will be different. From your morning walk with your dog to your weekend trips your routine and lifestyle will likely see a complete overhaul. You may be ready for these types of changes, but you will still need to consider the financial impact that a child has, as well as childcare accommodations that are needed.
- Preparing Your Home for Baby
Finally, you will need to prepare your home for your soon-to-be bundle of joy. Life will be made easier with baby gear like a crib, changing table, and highchair. If this is your first child, you may want to consider registering for baby gifts, or hosting an adoption shower. Another step to preparing home for baby is baby-proofing. Your glass coffee table may look chic, but the sharp corners will become a hazard once baby is up and running. Think about your cabinets, closets, and what around the house needs to be locked up or put away, to prevent a growing child from getting hurt.
Adoption is a wonderful way to grow your family. Babies bring love and joy that cannot be adequately expressed in this short guide. As you prepare to adopt your child, consider the above steps for preparation. For even more helpful tips, download our free eBook, Preparing for Adoption: A Guide for Adoptive Parents in Massachusetts, below.