National Adoption Month: How You Can Get Involved
The Benefits Of Adoption: A Gift That Lasts A Lifetime
Although adoption can be a process that involves patience, research and time, it can be a rewarding decision that has a myriad of benefits for everyone involved. Whether you are the birth parents seeking a suitable home for your child, an adoptive family that wishes to welcome a newborn or older child into your family, or an adult who knows the joys of being integrated into a family as an adopted child, there are so many advantages that are the result of adoption, either domestically or internationally.
Due to the unique experience that every individual goes through during the adoption process, it’s only natural that the outcomes and stories are as distinctive as the families themselves. In this article, we’ll explore the advantages of adoption in honor of National Adoption Month, so that you can better prepare yourself for this life-changing journey.
The Benefits for Birth Mothers: Ensuring The Best Future For You & Your Child
Although the decision to place your child for adoption may be based on a number of reasons – including but not limited to age, financial circumstances, marital status, health reasons or other factors – it is often an extremely difficult choice for any birth mother. Many birth moms are plagued with a wide range of emotions, such as grief, guilt, anxiety and overall worry when they are faced with this life-altering decision, as it will not only affect their child, but their own future. However, for birth moms who are unprepared or unable to raise a child based on such circumstances, there are a host of excellent resources available.
For young birth moms, some of the advantages of placing your child for adoption include:
- Receiving A Better Education: Statistics show that young birth moms who choose parenting over education typically do not finish high school. One of the advantages of adoption is having the ability to pursue an education, receive a college degree and achieve related career and professional goals.
- Decreased Instance Of Poverty: Studies have indicated that women who make the decision to place their child in adoption are less likely to live in a state of poverty than other single mothers, and less apt to require public assistance. With the ability to pursue secondary education, they’re more likely to land a job in their career path of choice.
- Possibility Of Remaining In Child’s Life: Depending on the relationship between the birth mother and adoptive family, mothers may be able to remain in their child’s life through certain open adoption agreements. Based on the type of arrangement stipulated between both parties, they may receive photos, letters, emails and even phone calls. In some instances, the birth mother may be granted periodic child visitations. Such arrangements can be beneficial to many women, as it helps to know their choice to place their child into adoption was the right decision.
- Finding Inner Peace: Giving up one’s child for adoption is often one of the most difficult decisions a woman is faced with. However, when a birth mom is unable to raise her baby, choosing adoption may be one of the most selfless acts she can make, as she is ensuring her child will be well-provided for, both emotionally and financially.
The Advantages Of Adoptive Parents: Creating A Family Out Of Love
In the instance of adoptive families and parents, there are a host of advantages to consider – but first and foremost, it is an amazing opportunity to have a child for the very first time, or the chance to add to an already existing family unit. Whether you are a single adoptive parent, a same-sex couple, or faced with infertility challenges, adoption enables both adults and children the many-faceted blessings that only a family can provide. Despite the limitations couples and single adoptive parents are up against, the ability to adopt is a powerful decision that can have a far-reaching impact on everyone involved, as it can bring joy, hope and the chance of having a family where it once seemed impossible.
The Advantages Of The Adopted Child: An Opportunity For New Beginnings
In the case of the adoptive child, he or she may be in one of the most advantageous positions, with the potential to be welcomed into a new family that offers many benefits, including:
- The Lifestyle Their Birth Parents Wanted For Them: In many cases, birth parents decide upon adoption because they’re not able to provide the desired lifestyle for their baby. Adoption enables a child with the opportunity to grow up in a nurturing environment, including a comfortable home, a stable family life and the sort of upbringing biological parents may have pictured for their little boy or girl as opposed to having to grow up with the effects of poverty or financial instability.
- Financial & Physical Stability: Adoption can also provide financial and physical resources that the child may not have had access to under different circumstances.
- Emotional Support & Affection: Whether the adopted child is in a closed adoption or still in contact with their birth parents, he/she is provided with the love, attention, support and nurturing that they need to thrive and develop into happy, healthy adults.
- A Family Unit: Adopted children may be integrated into a home that may include siblings.
As outlined above, there are a number of wonderful advantages to adoption for both parents and children alike. However, it’s important to research all of the facets entailed in the adoption process – whether you’re a newly married couple considering adoption, an expectant mother or a blended family interested in adding another child to your home, educating oneself is paramount to this life-altering decision.
Why There Needs To Be More Adoptive Families: Facts Vs. Fiction
Foster To Adoption: Understanding Misconceptions
Research shows that there are over 100,000 children in the U.S. in foster care awaiting adoption, and there continues to be numerous misconceptions about adoption from foster care. Keeping these statistics in mind, there is a globally growing need for adoptive families to consider – adopting children and providing them with the forever homes they so richly deserve.
According to a 2013 study by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Americans view foster care adoption more favorably than international or private infant adoption. However, the study also revealed that more than half of Americans still falsely believe that kids in the foster care system are juvenile delinquents. On the contrary, children are most often entered into foster care programs due to abandonment, neglect or abuse within the homes of their biological families. Tragically, these misconceptions prevent thousands of foster care kids from finding their forever families.
Adopting Older Children & Sibling Sets
One of the most common myths is the notion that if you adopt an older child instead of an infant, they’ll never feel like ‘yours’. Featured in a TODAY interview, adopted teen Breanna Shaw explains of her adoption day, “It was the best day of my life. I have a family all my own…and I know they’re not going to ever give up on me.” Adoptive parents Diane and Fred Shaw add, “She was ours, forever ours, and there was no way we were changing our minds.” But it wasn’t always that simple – Breanna explains how anxious she was initially, after nearly a lifetime of moving from foster home to foster home. She added, “Rationally, I knew they loved me…but there’s always that small voice that says, ‘Are they going to love me enough?’” In the meantime, Breanna’s adoptive parents were worried about providing adequate support. Diane wondered, “Are we going to be enough for her? Are we going to be enough to help her heal?” But Breanna explained to TODAY she feels completely at home, adding, “It takes a lot of being vulnerable (to be adopted), but it’s worth it – it’s the best feeling in the world, being loved.”
Another frequent myth is the fear of fostering or adopting more than one child if you become involved with the foster care system, which is a big misconception according to Rita Soronen, CEO and President of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. In fact, Soronen explains, “Foster care agencies for the most part err on the side of caution.” Agencies aren’t looking to overwhelm new foster parents, or place children in homes where they won’t receive the attention they require. Ultimately, you have the power over your family – you can either choose to adopt or foster a single child, or adopt sibling sets of any age if you are prepared and willing to make the commitment.
Celebrating Families Who Have Adopted: The Story of Nedra & Matt Cox
A recipient of the 2016 Adoption Excellence Award, Nedra and Matt Cox of Colorado received a 3 month old son into their home. As first time parents and foster parents, they were not expecting the child to have significant medical needs; however, the infant was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer shortly after his placement with the couple. They proved to be extraordinary caregivers during the baby’s intense course of treatment, surgery and recovery. Throughout their ordeal, they maintained constant communication with the infant’s birth mother. The best part of this story – the baby’s cancer is in remission and he was formally adopted by the Cox Family.
Adoption Education: Choosing The Best Type of Adoption For Your Family
Weigh Your Options
As an adoptive parent, you are faced with a major decision when it comes to the welfare of your adopted child. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the variety of factors entailed in the adoption process, such as why you want to adopt and what your lifestyle, income and personal circumstances will realistically accommodate. Some facets to consider when deciding upon adoption may include:
- Adopting a baby vs. an older child?
- Domestic vs. international adoption?
- Foster care vs. private adoption?
- Closed, semi-open or open adoption?
As you set out on your adoption journey, it’s important to keep each of these decisions in mind with regard to the cost and adoption process.
Do Your Research
After you’ve decided upon the type of adoption you intend to pursue, you will want to research the costs involved in the process. Adoption fees vary depending on several factors, including the type of adoption you choose, the state you live in, the adoption professional you choose, and in the event you’re adopting a newborn, the state the birth mother lives in, and what the birth mother’s pregnancy-related expenses might be.
Adoption Network Law Center works very closely with Adopting Parents to help you adopt within your budget and achieve your goal in building or expanding your family through adoption.
In the United States, every adopting parent must successfully complete a homestudy in order to adopt a child. This will be conducted by a social worker licensed in your state regardless of the adoption professional you have chosen. The purpose of the homestudy is three-fold: to educate the adopting family, to prepare you for adoption, and to evaluate your capabilities to ensure your home is a suitable environment for a child. You and your family members will be interviewed carefully to determine the emotional and financial stability of the household, among other pertinent information. The social worker will ask a series of questions, including but not limited to your family background, employment, education, relationships, finances, and prior (if any) parenting experiences. Upon a successful homestudy, you will receive an official approval for the adoption to commence. In certain instances, the social worker may feel that an adoptive placement is not in the best interest of the child or the family.
How To Get Involved: Becoming A Foster Care Parent
For more information on becoming a foster care parent, check out Children’s Bureau resources and learn additional facts about the foster care system