At Tammi Driver Law, we know that making the decision to adopt is a huge decision. There is so much more than knowing how you will handle having a new baby in your home. It is important that you are prepared for what you may face during the adoption process. Knowing someone or multiple people who have adopted is great, but very likely your journey will look different. Tammi Driver Law has put together some important questions to ask yourself before you embark on the process.
1- Why do you want to adopt?
Tammi Driver Law has heard many answers to this question including infertility, feeling called, or realizing there are children who need loving family. Taking a look at your “why” may help you feel even more confident and may be the very thing that bolsters your resolve and pushes you forward when the process gets tough.
2- Who do you want to adopt?
There are a lot of things to consider with this question. Maybe you have always wanted a son or daughter that you can throw the ball around with or take fishing or play Barbie’s or dress up. However, this should just be the beginning of answering the question of who you want to adopt. Below are some of the main points we think you should look at when considering who you want to adopt:
- Do you want a baby or an older child?
- Do you want a boy or a girl?
- Do you want a child of a specific race or ethnicity?
- Do you want a special needs child?
- Do you have any other criteria such as family medical history or substance use by the mother during pregnancy.
Going into the adoption with these questions answered can help you to find the child who will fit into your family. Take time to educate yourself.
3- What type of adoption do you want?
Adoptions can be open or closed or some variation between the two. With open adoption, you will remain in contact with the birth family, even if only through your adoption professional. This can be as involved as having regular visits and direct contact or just sharing periodic updates and pictures. A closed adoption means you will not know who the birth parents are and you will have limited information about them. Tammi Driver Law office can help you understand your options.
4- Can you commit to raising the child?
Adoption is obviously a lifelong commitment. A divorce or change in financial situation will not change that commitment. You will legally be the child’s parent. You must be ready to handle the normal challenges that will occur through all ages and in that timeline prepare them to come productive adults.
5- Are you prepared to help your child learn their heritage?
We know this is a very important piece for the well-being of the child. If the child is the same race and ethnicity as you, this may be easier; however, you must still be prepared for the “where did I come from?” question. On the other hand, if you adopt a child of another race or ethnicity, you need to be prepared to handle questions about why you look different, and it will be important for you to research your child’s heritage and help them learn about it.
6- What kind of support system do you have?
While you don’t have to have a support system to adopt, it can certainly help. Consider your family and friends. How will they react? Will they also love this child? Will they be on your team? Most times we find that the people around you will be supportive, celebrate, and open their hearts and arms wide, but unfortunately racism still exists and it may not rear it’s ugly head until you choose a transracial adoption.
7- Are you ready for the home study and adoption process?
This is often times the piece that families are not prepared for. Home studies require lots of paperwork, criminal background checks, financial disclosures, home inspections, and interviews in order for an agency to determine if you can provide a stable and loving home for an adopted child. All of this is required by law as the first step in your adoption journey.
8- What plan do you have for addressing questions and feelings down the road?
You should expect there will be questions and big feelings around the answers to those questions. You may not know the questions that will be asked, but educating yourself about what those may be, anticipating them, and being willing to ask for guidance from your adoption professional will help your family grow together.
These are just some of the questions that are important for you to ask yourself before beginning your adoption journey. Tammi Driver Law is here to help you with those, as well as the next steps.
Tammi J. Driver is a dedicated adoption attorney who can answer your questions about adoption and get you started on the process. Call Tammi Driver Law at 727-800-6681 to find out more about how our firm can assist you through the adoption process.