When we meet with families considering adoption, we often feel as though we are giving an overwhelming amount of information to digest. There are so many avenues to adoption, and with the vast amount of information available on the Internet, it can feel like an enormous task just to make those early decisions. The adoption journey itself can be complex, so we like to simplify as much as we can. Here are some simple tips for getting started:
Talk to friends who have adopted.
If you know someone who has adopted, they can be an invaluable resource for you, not only as you get started, but all throughout your adoption process. If they are open to sharing, ask them about their journey – How did they come to decide which route to take, and why did they go that particular route? It’s not just about finding out which agency they used or which country they chose, it’s about how they came to make those decisions.
Attend an information meeting.
We host information meetings regularly, and families who attend find them very helpful. You may have no idea what questions to ask, but as the conversation gets started, your wheels will start to turn. Even if you don’t think of any questions to ask, other people attending the meeting may ask a question that you had not thought of but that may give you some helpful insight. We always hang around after the meetings to speak privately with families who may have questions that they do not want to ask in front of the group. That way, people do not have to feel as though they have to be put on the spot. Families also find it helpful to meet the people at the agency with whom they will be working. In any adoption, it is so important to feel confident and comfortable with those who will help facilitate your adoption. Having the opportunity to meet them will help you decide if it is the right fit.
Start your home study.
If you are sure you want to adopt, you can get started on your home study, which is the first step in any adoption. Many people think that they need to have chosen a country or know all the specifics about the child(ren) they want to adopt before beginning. While it is helpful to at least know if you are planning to adopt domestically versus internationally, you do not have to know specifics just yet. In fact, the home study process may be helpful in making those more detailed decisions. Part of the home study is meeting with a social worker who will get to know you and talk with you about your intentions. They can talk you through your different options as you start to narrow them down and may have some suggestions as they get to know you. Also, the home study process includes parent training, which can be super helpful in guiding you along with your decision. Keep in mind that if you do change your mind, the home study can be easily amended.
As mentioned, it can be so overwhelming to plug “adoption” into that search engine and get so much information in response. If you take it one step at a time, you will find your way. And remember, we are always here to help!