Are you considering child adoption as a way to begin or add to your family?
Adopters are risk takers. The process of child adoption does not guarantee a child, much less a perfect child or a perfect family life. Life holds no such guarantees, either for birth parents or adoptive parents. Yet birth parents seem more willing to accept a less than ideal child. “He gets that annoying habit from Uncle Charlie,” they might say to console themselves. It is easier to accept a difficult child who shares your biological heritage, it seems. “That’s just the way we are in this family,” I have heard parents comment.
That is why it is so crucial to examine your motivation at the outset. The process of child adoption as well is the process of parenting an adopted child is not for everyone. It is best to sort out the fantasy from the reality of both.
Your adopted child may not be perfect. He will have flaws and habits that drive you to distraction, and so do biological children. You have to be ready to accept everything about their child before you can fully accept him into your heart. Your love for him cannot in any way be inferior to your love for a biological child. He cannot be allowed to feel he is in any way second-best.
Each child is unique and a special gift from God. One of my children is biological and the others are adopted. They each have their individual personalities. Seeing those personalities unfold is one of the joys of parenting. We have the privilege of having a bird’s eye view of their blossoming.
It would be accurate to say that I loved the “idea” of each of my children before I loved them. I fantasized about how each of them would look at how each of them would act. They all surprised me and they all at times make it difficult to love them. But the love that comes from the commitment to parent is part of the process of caring for a child, getting to know a child, and sharing your life with a child. Our feelings about our children may change from minute to minute, along with their mercurial blossoming personalities, but our unconditional love for them cannot waver.
A child adoption decision tree
Is adoption for you? I read an interesting statistic that said it’s usually about a year from the time a couple begins discussing adoption to making it first phone call. You have nothing to lose by gathering information and praying for God’s will for your life. What follows is a matrix for you and your spouse to assess where you fall in the decision-making process for child adoption.
For further information on this subject, check out my book – Should You Adopt