Many of us believe that parenthood is the surest path to fulfillment in life. The deep feelings of wanting to raise a child have their roots in historical social and cultural influences, so much so that many describe this desire for parenthood as innate.
But whether it is an instinctive desire, or a culturally learned one, the desire to parent and nurture children is ever-present and there comes a time in most of our lives when we feel compelled to confront it.
Sometimes, there are no problems at all. Biologically compliant couples can merely produce offspring and mutually raise them into adulthood with relatively few problems. But for persons who don’t have a clear path to parenthood, due to biological or sociological problems, often adoption is the only procedure possible to satisfy their need for nurturing a child.
Here are some things to keep in mind while you travel the challenging road toward adopting the child of your dreams.
- Choosing Your Adoption Agency
One of the most important decisions you will make during the process is the actual choosing of an adoption agency. Make sure that it is properly licensed in your state and research its reputation. You are going to be partners with these people for the better part of a year, so it is imperative that you are all of one mind on the course this adoption will take.
If issues present themselves in the early stages of adoption that make you uncomfortable with the personnel at the agency you’ve chosen, confront these questions forcefully right away. Don’t let someone with a different agenda than yours talk you into something that you don’t want, because changing your mind might be close to impossible later on in the adoption process.
Remember, you are making a commitment to a child for life and you and your partner must be single-minded and resolute in that obligation. If it’s being forced upon you in any way; get another adoption agency.
- Choosing Your Child
Most adoptive parents have a certain image in mind when beginning the process of adopting. While parents may specify some of what they are looking for in their child, most of the process actually lies outside their control.
Even though you have filled out questionnaires covering many different aspects of the potential adoptive child’s background, you must be mindful of the simple fact that it is up to a potential birth mother to choose the adoptive family that she feels is best for her baby.
So don’t be too disappointed if you are turned down for adoption a couple of times during the procedure. What you’re really doing during the initial stages is finding the right match with the birth mother, not the child. The system is designed to match up the right parents with the right baby and will eventually do so.
If you are adopting an older child, many more factors come into account. This will involve trial periods and evaluation from experts of whether this is the right match. Again, don’t be nervous, just go with the system and let ‘nature’ take its course.
- Marrying into a Family
Some adults who want children may end up marrying another adult who already has a child. This does not mean, automatically, that the child of the person of you are marrying is legally going to be your child. Most states, like Texas, have very specific laws regulating the adoption of stepchildren.
Cynthia Diggs, a Houston stepchild adoption attorney with years of experience, explains the particular difficulties in this category of family law, “Adopting your stepchild is an obvious step in many families, but Texas does not make it easy to achieve this goal … the most important factor is proving that one biological parent has either willingly or unwillingly given up their parental rights, allowing Texas to shift those rights to the stepparent.”
Make sure that you and your potential spouse are cognizant of all the issues, in your state, which you are going to have to address when you conjoin your two families together. You should make every effort to work these matters out before you get married.
- Post-Adoption Services
Once you’ve completed the adoption process remember that this child who you are raising into adulthood has a special personal history. You are going to have to learn how to explain adoption to that child.
And what if your child experienced early childhood abuse and trauma? You are going to need answers for that. Post adoption services have tons of history and research to help you be a better parent. Choose this service as carefully as you chose your adoption agency – your child’s happiness could depend upon it.
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