5 key questions to ask before you adopt
By Sherise Henry
If you are a person who has longed to nurture a child and for whatever reason are looking for ways to do so outside of the traditional pregnancy and birth experience, adoption may be your best alternative in ministering love to a child who needs your help. Adoption agencies are filled with hopeful parents who are looking to hold a child of their own in their arms. When choosing this journey there are so many options in age, race and nationality of the child you bring into your home. But the biggest choice in the process is the decision to ask yourself enough soul searching questions to determine whether adoption is a good fit for you and your family.
Adoption.com writer Elizabeth Curry took the time to outline five unique questions to aid you in your decision making. Here’s an excerpt from her article.
1) Why am I adopting?
On the face of it, this seems to be a simple question. Usually the answer is to add a child to a family. Yet, there are some important aspects to this question that need to be addressed. Are you adopting because you feel it is your duty to adopt an orphan? I’m not sure that duty alone will get you through the hard parts. Are you adopting (particularly a child of color) because you feel this is needed to show the world how open-minded you are? It's important to remember children are not political statements. Are you adopting because you feel it is your only option left? Infertility is painful, but please be sure that you have worked through the grief associated with it before embarking on adoption. No child deserves to be a second-best option. Are you adopting because you want to love a child? Do you desire to see this child through good times and bad; to cry with them and rejoice with them; to be at their weddings; to hold your grandchildren? In my opinion, this is the only right answer. It places significant value on the person of the child, on his or her importance in your family. With this answer, the child is not reduced to a cause or a statement or a consolation prize.
2) What do I think love is?
Do you think that love is the giddy happiness you feel when you look at someone you love? Do you think that being in love with someone means that everything is easy? If so, then what do you do when those initial feelings start to fade? What if you don’t experience those emotions right away? Being an adoptive parent means getting a crash course in learning that love is a verb. Love is more what you do than what you feel. Sometimes it’s hard to love someone, particularly if that someone is not loving you back. Parenting means loving our child even if we don’t feel the nice, cozy feelings. Love can be plain hard work.
3. How important is perfection?
Competitive parenting has always been around, but it seems in our age of social media, it has reached new heights. Parents want their children to succeed and to feel that they are successful as parents. Ask yourself, do you need to present a perfect face to the world? Do you ever let your guard down and show your true messed up self? (We’re all messed up, by the way, but some of us are just more willing to own up to it.) What if your child can’t make the honor roll? What if college just isn’t an option for your child? What if your child has emotional trouble? Are these things deal breakers for you? Or can you readjust your priorities? It is important to figure out now what place perfectionism has in your life. If it is too important, then maybe adoption isn’t for you.
4) Am I able to ask for help?
Even if you are the self-sufficient type, have you ever reached a place where you just couldn’t do it by yourself? Or have you suffered in silence, and somehow muddled through? If you are considering adoption, think about your attitudes toward others helping you. Parenting is not easy to do alone, and parenting adoptive children can sometimes be even harder. Even if it is just asking friends to bring some meals while you are still getting to know your new child, reaching out and asking others for what you need makes the journey a little bit easier. And you may need more help than you expect; you may need translators for language issues, help with court systems, special education advice, therapists, good friends to help you rejoice and offer a shoulder to cry on, doctors, nurses, and social workers. If you think asking for help means you are weak, please rethink that idea. Asking for help means you are smart and willing to find the resources you need for you and your child to thrive.
5) Am I willing to make myself uncomfortable?
This question is particularly for people who plan on adopting inter racially. Your child will not match with the rest of your family. This can make for experiences which are less than comfortable. First, you have the whole conspicuous family effect. You will be noticed. People will feel free to comment, either in positive or negative ways. When you are all out together, you will not be able to blend in with the masses. How will you navigate this? Remember your children will be watching and listening and learning from your example.
If you’ve answered these questions and are still confident that you want an adoption experience there are several Christian Adoption agencies in which to choose. Here’s a sample of their objective and list of agencies from the website www.adoptionfellowship.org
The National Christian Adoption Fellowship was formed by several Christian agencies who were all concerned that there was a need for Christian agencies to join together in a fellowship of trust, support and encouragement. Our interests and motivation are different in many ways from secular agencies and we intend to conduct ourselves in a manner that would bring glory and honor to our Savior, Jesus Christ. We don't believe that competition is the best model for serving families and children and try, whenever possible, not to duplicate the services provided by our agencies. We also understand that we are each unique and offer an approach and services that would distinguish each agency, while always sharing the fundamentals of our faith and commitment to children and families.
List of Agencies and Web Sites
Adoption Associates, Inc.: www.adoptionassociates.net
Amazing Grace Adoptions: www.agadoptions.org
America World Adoption Association: www.awaa.org
America World Adoption Association: www.awaa.org/about/pregnant
Christian Adoption Services: www.christianadopt.org
Hope's Promise: www.hopespromise.com
New Beginnings Intl. Children's & Family Services: www.newbeginningsadoptions.org
New Horizons Adoption Agency, Inc.: www.nhadoptionagency.com
Nightlight Christian Adoptions: www.generationsadoptions.org
Nightlight Christian Adoptions: www.nightlight.org
Small World Adoption: www.smallworldadoption.com
Special Delivery Infant Adoption Agency: www.specialdeliveryadoptions.org