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How Do You Know If Youre Ready to Adopt a Child?

how to know when you're ready to adopt a child

Photo by enbradley on flickr

Before you delve deep into this, know that this is not an article full of tips and advice on how to know when you’re ready to adopt a child. On the contrary, this is my way of asking for support and tips from those who have adopted.

Up until last year I could clearly, and with conviction, state all the reasons why having a single child was the perfect decision for my family. Amongst them, that we could travel more freely; that we were blessed with one healthy girl, and why would I push it to have another one in my forties; and that it just felt right with the three of us. But, lately, it hasn’t been feeling right — so much so, that all my previous reasons are now being trumpeted by a need to parent another child to complete our family.

That need isn’t really physical, though. My ovaries don’t ache when I’m around babies. I don’t at all have fantasies of myself daunting a pregnant glow again. I cringe at the thought of another 36-hour labor. Plus, I’m sleep-deprived as it is — couldn’t fathom that again.

The need is really more abstract and even a bit spiritual. I see my daughter, and I feel she’s missing something. It hurts me to see her unhappily attempt to play alone at home. I know I can just as easily schedule more playdates for her without the need of a sibling, but that excuse isn’t working for me anymore. I just know she needs a deep emotional connection to another child.

The need also comes out of the fact that we have no relatives living anywhere near us. The lack of cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. to embrace on a constant basis, leaves us with so much to give and a longing to have the chaos and love of family surround us. We know we can give a foster child the love and security they need and we can, in turn, get the feeling of having a complete family once and for all.

And, aside from the need, what if there’s a little girl out there just waiting for us to decide to take this step and change her life? What if we’re denying her a life just because we’re too scared, or think we are?

Are my reasons too selfish? I’m not sure.

A friend who’s a family and marriage therapist, and who has adopted two children himself, recently told me the only reasons that are correct are those that will make your family feel complete because that will, in turn, benefit the child because he/she will feel wanted and welcomed.

So after exploring all my reasons and letting many months pass by to make sure this isn’t just a phase I’m going through, I’ve started exploring the option of foster adoption. I always thought that adoption would be too expensive, and we wouldn’t be able to afford it. I recently found out that if we go the foster-adopt route there are no costs involved and the child is guaranteed medical insurance and even college tuition at a state level. Armed with this knowledge, the little voice inside my head urging me to adopt has been getting louder and louder. It’s as if I have no more excuses left!

Now that my husband is on board too, we’re going to start actively researching and will start by attending a class to learn more.
We think we really are ready to adopt a child and how I know is just because, well, I know.

What we know right now is that:

• My daughter understands the concept of adoption, loves the idea, and all she’s asking for is to make sure she’s the big sister.
• Our financial and home situation can handle one more person.
• Adopting from foster care is right for us in so many ways. We want an older child (around 3- or 4-years-of-age), hopefully from Latino descent that we can share our heritage with.
• Our hearts are ready to take another person in. Everything else will fall into place.

If you’ve already adopted, would love it if you would share with me in the comments section below how you knew you were ready to adopt. If you’re thinking about it, feel free to ask questions or just share your thoughts as well. It helps to write it down and share.
Thanks for starting this journey with me!

******

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Check out the forthcoming book I co-authored, Bilingual is Better: Two Latina Moms on How the Bilingual Parenting Revolution is Changing the Face of America.

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