Building a family through adoption

Adoption can be a wonderful way for singles and couples to build their families. Although adoption can be a highly rewarding way to bring a child into your life, it requires commitment and careful consideration.

Perhaps the first and most important consideration is whether you feel you can open your heart and your home to a child who is not genetically related to you. In the majority of cases if you adopt, you will be given very little information about your child’s genetic background or familial, social or medical history. You may not know whether particular traits or illnesses run in the families of your child’s birth parents or whether the birth mother was able to take good care of herself during her pregnancy. So you must ask yourself whether you can accept and live with these unknowns, and commit to the journey that is parenthood – with all its ups, downs, and uncertainties.

If you answered yes to these questions, the next important consideration will be whether to pursue a domestic (i.e., public or private) or international adoption. Research your state or province’s legal requirements and regulations regarding adoption, as well as those in the country in which you are intending to pursue adoption if you are adopting internationally. If you are single or a gay or lesbian couple, it will be important to determine in advance whether there are restrictions on your eligibility to adopt.

A home study is a common requirement for approval to adopt. This can be a time consuming and invasive process, but very important in helping you determine the type of adoption and child that would be a good fit for you and your family. Are you comfortable pursuing an open adoption (i.e., where contact is maintained with the child’s birth parents), and if so, what level of contact would you be willing to have with the birth parents? Are there certain characteristics that are important for you to see reflected in your adopted child (e.g., racial and ethnic background)? Would you be willing to adopt an older child or a child with special needs? If you already have children, how will you integrate your new child into your family?  How will you discuss the adoption with your children, your family members, and others in your life? Can you afford the costs of adoption (particularly international adoption)? These are just some of the many questions that you will need to address, if you are considering adoption.

Although the adoption process can feel overwhelming at times, there are many resources you can access to help you through your journey to becoming an adoptive parent. It can be very useful to connect with a reputable adoption agency to help you navigate the process. It can also be very helpful to connect with other parents who have adopted children in the same province, state or country from which you are hoping to adopt.

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