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An insider's look at the adoptive process

Many couples — and some singles — who long to be parents but can't, for whatever reason, choose to adopt. However, it's important to understand that the road to adoption can be a rocky one.

The home study alone can be agonizing, as you become acutely aware that, yes, you are being judged. Your marriage, your lifestyle, your finances and even the cleanliness of your home is scrutinized. Fearing that you will fall short of some invisible mark is common.

Another hurdle you face in open adoptions is gaining the trust and approval of the birth mom, and in some cases, the father as well. She (or they) must trust you enough to believe that surrendering to you the most precious gift — their infant — is the best choice for the baby. That alone is a high bar to vault.

Sometimes the adopted child may be of another race or ethnic group and will look nothing like you and your family members. You won't have the luxury of blending in as a family among strangers, many of whom will unthinkingly blurt out deeply personal questions.

For those who choose multicultural or transracial adoptions, there is also the challenge of incorporating your child's indigenous heritage into his or her life. Preparing a child to become a well-adjusted adult includes acquainting him or her with the cultural background of the biological parents as well as your own ethnic family traditions.

Sometimes an adopted child isn't a perfectly healthy infant, and may not even be an infant at all. If you are open to adopting an older child or one who has disabilities, you must prepare yourself for the additional challenges that can accompany your decision.

Still feel that you are up to the challenge? Before proceeding to the next step, make sure that you have all the legal details for the adoption covered.

Source: Adoptive Families, "Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother," Jana Wolff, accessed Feb. 01, 2018

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