Many states have requirements regarding the education you will need in order to adopt. What this looks like can vary from state to state. In general, adoption education is classes or materials that seek to educate hopeful adoptive parents about children’s emotional needs, cultural differences, and any other topic relevant to the general care and nurturing of a child.
Often these requirements vary by agency. One agency may require that you attend a weekend seminar. Another may have you attend a series of on-site weekly classes. Some agencies may only require you to take an online class or read adoption books that you’ll later discuss with your caseworker. When you search for agencies, ask them about their requirements. They can answer the question very simply and will likely provide you with this information up front.
Regardless of the education venue, the information will remain very similar. However, it may vary slightly based on the ideals of the agency. If your agency supports open adoption, your education might contain more materials on how open adoption is facilitated. If your agency handles mostly infant adoption, you may not get as much education on raising an older child.
Remember that these educational requirements are just that: requirements. You will help yourself and your child if you seek further adoption education beyond what’s required. Find an adoption support group so you can ask all the questions you wouldn’t feel comfortable asking your agency. Seek out adoption books and articles. Listen to perspectives and stories about adoption from adoptees and birth parents. Adoption education will serve you best if you continue it as a lifelong journey in raising your child and maintaining positive and healthy relationships.
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Written by Lita Jordan