A year ago, after many years of trying to conceive, my husband and I became parents to our sweet boy London. It was not the way that I envisioned as a child but looking back, it was exactly as it was supposed to happen. I can’t imagine not being London’s mommy. The way he looks at my husband and I, melts my heart. I cannot wait for the day that we can tell him how God specifically picked him for us. We often look at London and can’t believe what his life would have been like if we had not adopted him. It’s too uncomfortable to imagine. Now more than ever, I want to give back to the adoption community.
For those of you who have been trying for a long time and are ready to hear more about adoption, here’s some advice that I wish someone would have given me. Things happen for a reason, and we know that we were meant to be London’s parents.
10. Take a mini trip or stay-cation with your husband/wife before the craziness starts.
Taking a trip right before London came into our lives was such a necessary thing. Whether you decide to adopt or foster a newborn or older child, you will want that time to bond with your significant other before your life changes. If you are going to be a single parent, this STILL applies to you.
9. Breath and don’t listen to negative people or conversations.
I don’t know how many times throughout this entire process I had to remind myself to breathe. There are days that are incredible and days you want to give up but trust us, IT IS ALL WORTH IT! Stay positive.
8. SAVE, SAVE, SAVE: Look at your finances!
This was a tough one for us, we probably didn’t do it as we should have. Since we didn’t have a hefty savings fund, we had to improvise as we went. We didn’t know what to expect. There are fees for everything from filing paperwork to getting a DMV record. Keep track of everything you spend because eventually you will be able to file and recoup some of that money back as a tax credit.*One thing to note, Foster care is different if you choose to go that direction, there are many resources for you however, the rights of the child extend past the parents and other family member may choose to adopt the child.
7. Get a homestudy!
This is the #1 thing I suggest to do first when you FULLY decide to adopt/foster. This takes the most time and is something you must do to start the process of meeting potential birth moms.
6. Baby proof your home.
Knife collection? GUNS? Pool? Make sure that your home is practical and safe to bring home a child, this doesn’t mean changing locks, fixing plugs or padding your furniture. You can do that later when the child is able to crawl. If you are bringing home a newborn, you don’t necessarily have to have an extra bedroom or crib, they will sleep in your room for the first few months so you can wait on that. What you can invest in is a fire extinguisher and make sure any alcohol or medicine is put away.
5. Do your research…
There are many topics that came up that we never even thought we’d have to think of. How do you feel about raising a child of a different race? How do you feel about a birth mom drinking alcohol, using drugs, smoking, mental health during pregnancy? The big debate: open or closed adoption? (open means that you and your child can have a relationship with the birth mom & dad, you have control of how much. Closed means that you and your child will no longer have contact with the birth mom & dad.) At the end of the day, you are in control of what you are open and not open to. The more open you are, the more options you will have, it’s just reality. We chose to to have an open adoption for a lot of reasons, if you’d like to hear those reasons, let us know.
4. Take a CPR & First Aid class.
I think this is an important thing to do no matter what. If you have any children, you should take these classes. I took mine here, but there are many programs online and in person.
3. Really ask yourself, what you are ok with and what you aren’t ok with.
Please refer to number 5, you don’t want to regret any hasty decision you make.
2. Decide if you will go through an adoption attorney, agency, facilitator or foster care.
Adoption Attorney’s usually already have contacts so there might not be as much of a wait since that is what they do for a living. What’s also great about going through them is that they can also represent you through all of the legalities. The reason we didn’t go through one is that it was WAY more expensive. Looking back, because of the bankruptcy, we spent the same amount but we don’t regret our journey, the good, the bad, it led us to London. Agencies can be costly as well, however they also include a lot. You really have to market yourself to birth mothers and fathers as uncomfortable as it seems and agencies have the resources to help you with that. Unfortunately we chose an agency that was in business for over 30 years but just couldn’t keep the lights on. There was no way we could have known. We were lucky enough to find an agency that worked hand in hand with our facilitators. A facilitator is someone that is the middle man between you and the birth mother/father. They already have birth mothers that are looking to place and they will help you from the beginning until the baby is born. Our agency worked with them to make sure that our birth mom relinquished her rights and served our potential birth fathers as well (4). The facilitators also helped find our birth mom a home while she was pregnant and had the tough conversations with her when it felt like it was too much for us. We don’t know too much about the Foster Care route but our agency knows a lot about it. I will reference our agency, facilitator and an Adoption Attorney website below:
1. Make peace with yourself that you will not be carrying your child yourself (or that this child will not biologically be yours.)
This is extremely important! I think it took me a solid year to mourn the fact that my body wasn’t able to do something that it was meant to do. I also envied Luis that he didn’t have any insecurities about loving our child unconditionally. My worse insecurity or fear was, “What if I don’t feel an attachment or bond when I meet my son/daughter?” That could not be more further from the truth, as soon as I laid eyes on London, I knew he was our son and I loved him unconditionally. I was a mom, we were parents, we were a family.