As with any major life change, adoption inevitably generates many complicated emotions on everyone’s part. Although each family’s adoption journey is unique, there are a few steps you can take to help prepare your family and set realistic expectations.
Learn as much as you can about the process
Increasing your knowledge can help ease your anxiety. Research what to expect during each stage, and understand that the homestudy could take several months to complete.
Build a support system
It’s vital that you build a strong support system to lean on. Friends and family can provide comfort, your adoption assessor can give professional advice, and the community of other adoptive parents can offer encouragement. Learn more about building a support system here.
Prepare your family
If you already have children, it’s essential to prepare them for another sibling. Read books about adoption, communicate openly about their concerns and fears, and include them in creating a welcome book.
Prepare your relatives, as well. Be honest and open about your plans, motivations and expectations. If infertility is the reason, give them time to grieve the loss of the “family bloodline,” just as you did when you made the decision. Share reputable adoption resources so they can learn, too. Most importantly, understand that they also may have an emotional response.
Take the pre-service training seriously
Pre-service training is full of helpful information about how to manage your expectations, respond to the child’s trauma, and overcome obstacles. Adoption professionals and even other adoptive parents lead the sessions. They’re great resources for your questions and concerns.
Set realistic expectations
The adoption process is intense and invasive. The training takes time, and waiting for a child to be matched with your family can take longer than you expected. Setting realistic expectations can help manage stress and avoid disappointment for you and your family.
Remember why you chose to become an adoptive parent
Reminding yourself of the reasons you chose to adopt can help calm you during challenging moments. If necessary, write down your “whys” and keep them with you so you can refer to them often.