Bringing an adopted child into a “forever home” is a milestone occasion for parents. It represents the culmination of their most important life journey and months or even years of hard work and dedication. Before new parents begin the adoption process, it’s important they learn about the various options and are fully committed and prepared for the responsibility. Helping them on this undertaking is BCFS Health and Human Services RSD, a nonprofit organization with extensive experience with adopted and foster care children. The organization offers an array of educational, shelter, and care services at the local, regional, and national level.
There’s understandably a lot of “red tape” that comes with an adoption. There’s paperwork, background checks, court rulings and other procedures involved. Parents need patience to navigate an adoption, and to understand there’s a reason for a long process because it ensures they’re fit to raise a child. RSD counsels parents to make sure they’re ready for adoption by asking themselves some tough questions. For example, they should consider why they’re wanting to adopt, and if they’re emotionally and financially ready for the responsibility. Parent partners should have some discussions with themselves separately and as a pair so they can ensure they’re on the same page when it comes to their reasons for adopting and their plans for the child’s future.
In the U.S. adoptions are typically completed through an adoption agency or through a lawyer, which is known as an “independent adoption.” An agency handles more of the administrative and paperwork tasks of an adoption, so the independent adoption route is best suited for people that want more involvement in the adoption details. Many adopted children come from the foster care system. There are hundreds of thousands of kids in foster care, especially older children who need loving homes to help them transition into adulthood. Parents considering a foster child adoption need to complete specialized training to help them manage any potential issues and to ensure the child is supported as best as possible.
An important consideration for parents who are adopting to narrow down the characteristics of their preferred child. Do they want an infant? Are they willing to adopt a teenager or would consider a sibling pair? What about a child that was exposed to alcohol or drugs by their birth parents, or one with behavioral or developmental issues? Parents should have a period of self-reflection to determine what types of children would be best suited for their own capabilities, so they can ensure the child receives the support and care they deserve.