In today’s post, we’re discussing adoption preferences, in other words, the preferences you have when choosing a child you’re hoping to adopt. Once you enter the adoption process, you and your partner will have to decide what you could or could not accept in the child you potentially adopt. Initially, this is a very difficult step for families to do because they feel guilty for being selective, but this is an extremely important part of the process.
To help with your decision-making, I’ve listed 6 steps to help you choose your adoption preferences below:
- Be honest with yourself. A lot of times, families are pretty desperate to adopt, so they’ll choose things they are not truly comfortable with. However, that would be doing your potential child a complete disservice and you would not be fully prepared to embrace the child you bring home to your family.
- Ensure you and your partner are on the same page about what aspects matter most about a child you’re hoping to adopt. Be sure to communicate clearly and thoroughly about the preferences you’re looking for in a child. Some things you’ll have to agree on are age, race, gender, and the number of children you’re hoping to adopt.
- Educate yourself. One question you’ll be asked is whether or not you’d be open to a child who has been exposed to drugs or alcohol during the pregnancy, and it’ll even be broken down to what drugs you’d be open to working with. A lot of times, you may not even know what certain drugs are or the possible long-term effects they may have on a child, so be sure to do proper research. I’ve linked some resources here for you to do that.
- Make no “maybes.” There are no gray areas in the preference questionnaire; it’s either a “yes” or a “no.” Unfortunately, you aren’t able to say, “Well, it just kind of depends on the situation.” You need to think with your head rather than your heart when it comes to this crucial step in the process. As mentioned previously, you’re not doing a service by homing a child that you don’t think you could parent. For this reason, try your best to leave emotions out of your preferences. This isn’t to say you can’t change your preferences down the road, but don’t keep anything gray. Decide if each preference is a “yes” or a “no.”
- Look at your own family. One thing that drives me crazy is when families are not open to certain things that are in their own family history. If these families biologically had a child, then chances are, their child might have some of those conditions. It doesn’t make sense to exclude those when you’re looking at adoption, so be sure to look at your own family history before you start choosing preferences.
- Don’t apologize for the choices that you make. I can’t tell you how many people feel so bad that they can’t adopt a child with special needs. Unfortunately, some of these special needs come from what was done to the child in utero, by whatever drugs or alcohol was used by the mom during the pregnancy. If a mother is pregnant, she has a lot more control over these situations. However, when it comes to adoption, some things are just out of your control, and that’s OK. If there is a particular need that you just don’t feel that your family is able to take on, do not apologize for that. Realize that it’s OK to have preferences.
Remember, as you’re starting the adoption journey, you just have to start somewhere.
Learn about adoption and all that comes along with it by taking the All About Adoption 101 course!