The Benefits of Adopting a Child
When it comes to adopting a child, it’s hard to put into words what you will gain from making this decision. Every parent is unique, and the benefits will vary from family to family. From the feeling of fulfillment experienced knowing that you are providing a home to a child in need to the joy of becoming a parent, the rewards that come with adopting a child are innumerable. Here are some of the biggest benefits, both big and small, of child adoption.
Fulfilling lifelong dreams of raising a child
For many single parents and couples, there is no greater dream or desire in their adult life than to raise a child. When you adopt a child, you become a parent. All of the moments you spent playing with dolls as a child, the daydreams you had about playing catch with your child in your front yard — all of those dreams become potential realities the moment you become a parent. A world of opportunities and memories becomes available to you.
Experiencing the joy and blessing of adding a child to your family
While the adoption process is sometimes arduous, the results are immeasurable. Whether you’re bringing your first child into your family, or adding to a growing brood, the feeling of joy is the same. Your days will be a little brighter, and your future a little more promising when you add a new bundle of joy to your life.
Building new meaningful relationships
Oftentimes, one of the most rewarding parts of the adoption in California process for future parents is being able to form a relationship with their future child’s birth parents. This is truly a special bond. If you are fortunate enough to have a positive interaction with your future child’s birth mother or birth parents, it may help bring even more sentiment to your experience of adopting a child.
Conversely, some birth parents prefer to have little interaction with adoptive parents and put the pregnancy and adoption behind them. Regardless, having an understanding of the birth parents and the situation your adoptive child is coming from will help provide you with insight and preparedness to create a loving home environment.
Another positive outcome of adoption that is sometimes overlooked is the impact it may have on the birth mother. While you welcome the newest member of your family with open arms, she may be receiving a second chance at receiving an education or fulfilling her goals. She will rest assured knowing that her child will be raised by a loving family who will raise her baby as their own.
Adopting a more regular schedule
Creating routines is essential for children, especially if you foster-to-adopt a child. Routines provide children with “a sense of security, and help them develop.” According to Aha! Parenting, by creating an environment of stability, you allow your child to feel safe, and to develop a sense of mastery in handling their life. Children, like adults, handle change best if it occurs within the midst of a similar routine.
And the effects of an organized home life cannot be underestimated when raising a child. One study on the effect of household chaos (defined by disorganization, lack of routine, excessive noise, crowdedness, lots of coming and going, or an overly fast pace) found that that the more chaotic a family’s life is, the more likely their children are to encounter a number of issues, including more stress, worse overall health, and higher levels of attention, aggression and conduct problems (PBS.org).
By committing to a routine of stability to improve the quality of life of your adopted child, you may find your own life and daily routine changing to become more productive and peaceful as a result.
Experiencing new cultural traditions
For many adoptive parents, oftentimes international adoption is the best fit for their needs or timeline. If you do choose to adopt internationally, you will inherit several unique responsibilities. According to AdoptiveFamilies.com, family members must incorporate “elements of the child’s original culture, including friendships with people of the child’s ethnicity” into their everyday lives in order for the child to develop self-esteem and pride.
This may mean exposing your family to a host of new and exciting cultural traditions, as well as versing yourself in other education and history that’s pertinent to your child’s home country. There is a great opportunity to turn this into a culturally enriching experience for your whole family!
Exposing yourself to new activities and interests
All children are different, but they have one thing in common no matter their age, size or gender: children dream big. Think back to what you wanted to be when you “grew up” — maybe a firefighter? A ballerina? An astronaut? When you adopt a child, you are also adopting a whole new set of dreams and aspirations. Each child has unique talents and interests, and the best way to assist them in uncovering these gifts is to try more things.
As Parents.com suggests, “Do not underestimate the power of unstructured play.” Adopting a child will require you to think outside the box and try new activities. Stepping outside your comfort zone can benefit you both in the long run, and allowing your child to see you trying something new may inspire him or her to do the same.
So, you may end up at the ballet studio, on the sidelines at the soccer field, or sitting in the auditorium during a piano recital on your child’s journey to finding their gifts and hobbies. And you’ll grow along the way because of it.
Continuous learning and growth
There is something to be said for having a core set of beliefs. However, adopting a child and bringing a new member into your family can challenge those beliefs, and oftentimes lead to adjustments.
You may also learn about yourself from helping your child to learn as they grow, specifically when it comes to broadening your horizons on what you can and cannot accomplish. People with a fixed mindset are usually reluctant to take on challenges because they believe their achievements come from innate abilities. Those with a growth mindset are usually more willing to face challenges with hard work because they believe in always learning new skills (Parents.com).
In addition, you may learn something about your own learning style by adopting a child. Everyone learns differently, and you need to be open to the fact that your new son or daughter may be a different type of learner than you are. From auditory, to visual, to musical, to kinesthetic, there are multiple different learning styles. By adopting a child who is likely to have a learning style quite different from the one you are used to, you will certainly be presented with some challenges (especially when it comes to helping with homework!), but you will also learn a lot about yourself and your child too.
Improving your quality of life
Since so much of a child’s development and growth is dependent on routines and positive reinforcement, it is probable that your home and family will improve after adopting a child. Praise and encouragement play a key role in a child’s growth and development, although this facet of home life is often undervalued. In fact, “according to a research study at the University of Iowa, the average 2-year-old child hears 432 negative statements per day but only 32 positive statements each day” (SheKnows.com)
By making positivity and encouragement a focus of home life, you will create an empowering atmosphere for both your new child and other members of your family. This new habit may even bleed into your social and work lives; you know what they say, positivity is infectious!
In addition, while many assume that childless couples have a better quality of life than people with kids living at home, that is not always the case. “People with kids living at home tend to have more money and are more highly educated, more religious and in better health” (CNN.com).
One key difference between parents and non-parents when it comes to quality of life are the extremes; parents tend to experience more highs and lows, and to a greater degree than those people without kids. So, parents may experience more stress, but in the end, they have more joy in their lives– Not a bad trade-off!
Improved physical health and well-being
We would be remiss not to mention the purely physical benefits of bringing a child into your life. A focus on cooking at home and providing healthy meals, enforcing bedtime rules, and allocating time for play and rest for your child are just a few of the innumerable areas where your life will be inevitably shaped (for the better) by the rules you apply to your child’s life. You want the best for your child, so you will likely make some lifestyle changes that are conducive to fostering good health and well being. And your adopted child won’t be the only one who will benefit from those positive lifestyle changes.
Raising a child is not inexpensive. In fact, according to the USDA, parents are projected to spend $235,000 to raise a child born in 2013 (for food, housing, childcare and education, and other child-rearing expenses up to age 18).
However, there are also significant tax benefits from adopting a child. For instance, there is an adoption tax credit available for adopted children who are under 18 years. Qualified adoption expenses for this credit are defined as “reasonable and necessary expenses directly related to the legal adoption of a child under 18 years old, or physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself.” These expenses may include adoption fees, travel expenses, meals and lodging, and more (Huffington Post).
Of course, there are some additional limitations on who can claim the adoption credit and how much credit they qualify for. There are also different stipulations for Special Needs Adoptions and International Adoptions. In addition, many employers also provide paid leave or financial support for foster-adoptive families.
For more information on this subject, view the IRS page on Topic 607 – Adoption Credit and Adoption Assistance Programs here.
At the end of the day, the most rewarding part of adoption is providing a welcoming, lifelong home to a child in need. Simply being able to provide a safe household with loving parents is a benefit in itself. And there are few other benefits, adoption-related or otherwise, that can top that!
To learn more about how you can foster-adopt a child, visit our website.