I am not sure about anyone else, but I don’t think I have truly felt fully prepared for anything in life. Maybe it is just my anxiety talking, but life is full of so many unknowns. It is difficult to prepare for everything when anything could happen. Being prepared for adoption is no exception, as there is little competition against adoption when it comes to unknowns. The question you should ask is not “Am I prepared for adoption?” but rather “Am I able to tackle the unknowns?” While no one may ever feel completely prepared to adopt, there are a few areas where you can place your focus and have confidence that you can face the adoption process head-on.
Being able to pay for an adoption is one of the greatest fears of potential adoptive parents and often the main thing that holds people back from adopting. The common belief is that a person must be rich in order to adopt—or at the very least, financially stable. Financial stability is really in the eye of the beholder. What needs to be considered is not whether a family is financially stable, but whether they are financially able to afford adoption. Are they able to figure out how to come up with the funds necessary for adoption and the care of a child? For my family, we had to prepare by cutting out some extras such as gym memberships and subscription services we were not using. This alone was enough to make us able to afford the payment on a low interest loan for our adoption expenses. Others fundraise, apply for grants, and find other ways to fit adoption and a new child into their budget. Finances are important in considering whether you are prepared to adopt; however, you will need to go into financial preparedness in the right frame of mind and with realistic expectations.
Physical health is not the only horse in this fight. The adoption process can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. In an effort to prepare for adoption, make sure that you first take care of you. Physical health will be about more than just eating right and exercising. Make time to rest and sleep. Sleep will be vital to maintain your strength, and healthy habits can be carried over when you bring your child home. For your emotional and spiritual health, make sure you have a good support system. This can be friends, family, and adoption experts but can also take the form of a therapist or mentor. Making sure that you are whole as a person and maintaining strong relationships with those in your life will prepare you for a healthy life with your child.
Most people know that they will have to prepare their home to bring in a new child. What many do not do well is looking toward the future. What will your home look like when your child is 3, 10, or 17 years of age? Is your home big enough to grow with your child and family? What are the core values you want for your family? What kind of home will your kids grow up in? Take some time to think through what you want once the child is grown and what your plans might be for the future. Not knowing the answers does not mean you are not prepared to adopt, just that you have a few things to consider.
Knowing if you are prepared to adopt is not essentially the goal. I have not met many who were ever fully confident they were prepared to parent. Much of that will come with experience as well as trial and error. No matter how you become a parent, no parent is perfect. As you are pondering how prepared you feel to adopt, your main question should be, “Can I do this?” We all have stuff to figure out that we feel a little unsure about. This is part of why adoption is referred to as a journey. There will be curves and bumps, but navigating those bumps will be the greatest teacher.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/”>Facebook.</a>