Knowing whom to adopt is really about personal preference. With adoption, you do generally get the liberty of deciding what kind of adoptive situation you and your family are ready for. You can also decide, typically, what age you would prefer. You will know whom to adopt as you are open with yourself and/or your partner about your hope for adoption. Would you like to take in an infant, a young child, or a teenager? Were you hoping for a closed adoption or an open one? Are you both open to a child with special needs? A sibling group? All of these questions are important to ask yourself so you know whom to adopt.

Knowing whom to adopt will also largely depend on the type of adoption you’re pursuing. Many will choose private adoption when hoping to adopt an infant. This will allow for a lot more choice as far as race, gender, nationality, special needs, exposure, et cetera. This route gives the prospective adoptive parents more control over the conditions under which they adopt. When adopting from foster care, the choices have much more to do with what you feel you are capable of taking on as far as age, special needs, exposure, history, et cetera.

Regardless of the adoption route you choose, deciding whom to adopt is really a matter of eliminating nonnegotiables. This is a hard subject to broach, as every child is worthy and deserving of a forever family. However, you know your capabilities and know what you can and cannot take on. Where special needs may be a deal breaker for some, other parents may seek out a child with special needs as they feel capable and called to that child. While one parent may want a newborn, another may feel an older child would be a better fit for the family.

My husband and I always thought we would adopt an older child (and still plan to). However, we have been asked twice to adopt infants, and we accepted both times. We decided this desire we initially had was certainly negotiable. When you sign on with an agency or through foster care, they will typically present you with a form of what you will and will not accept across all characteristics I have talked about above. Take some time, sit down with your family, and discuss what the child you adopt looks like to you all. What would you be willing to consider? What are your nonnegotiables? You may be surprised what you’re willing to consider that you have not given thought to before!  

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Written by Lita Jordan