Any adoption brings unique experiences and challenges which will require you to look at your life from different perspectives. As you think through this decision and whether or not it’s the right fit for your family, we encourage to spend some time reflecting on the following questions and reviewing them with your support network and your adoption worker if/when you move forward.
Taking time to focus on your reactions and answers to these questions will help you better understand your areas of strengths, as well as those that will benefit from additional support, education and guidance. These questions have a focus on adopting from foster care, but are also relevant to those considering other styles of adoption.
Understanding Child’s Experience
- What books have you read that are written by adopted adults?
- Have you attended a workshop with a panel of adopted adults or teens?
- How would you handle things when your child is skeptical of your love?
- Are you expecting your child to love and trust you right away or are you willing to wait weeks, months or even years?
- Picture how you will react when your child exhibits a behavior you’ve never done or seen someone do. Would you be able to put the behavior aside and think about the reasons behind it?
Race and Culture
- Are you comfortable engaging in challenging and respectful conversations about race and culture?
- Do you have friends or family of different races and cultures?
- How are you prepared to incorporate your child’s race and culture into your daily life?
- Are you willing to put yourself in situations where you will be the minority so your child won’t be?
- What resources are available in your community to help support your multicultural family?
- Are you willing to face the tough stuff in your child’s history and come to terms with how it makes you feel?
- Do you think you’ll be able to talk to your child about their early life experiences in a way that doesn’t label or blame them or their birth family?
- Do you understand that if your child has experienced abuse, they may still love their birth family and have positive memories of them? In what way are you willing to honor these feelings?
- Are you willing to maintain safe connections to people who were important in your child’s life before you knew them?
- How would you react if you learn your child has established a relationship with birth family members through social media?
- Do you expect that your adopted child will be grateful?
- Do you have set expectations about your future child and family life (i.e. tidiness, grades, sports)? How will you feel when these expectations aren’t met?
- In what ways do you expect to bond to your child right away? How will you feel if that doesn’t happen?
- Do you have difficult experiences from your own childhood that may impact your ability to parent a child with a traumatic history? What have you done to work through these issues? What can you do to keep these emotions separate from raising your child?
- Can you think of a time in your life where you needed persistence? What things helped you move forward during this difficult time? Was this example something that took one week, one month, one year of hard work?
- Are you willing to let go of your views on consequences to make your relationship with your child a priority?
- How will you respond if your plan for the day gets unexpectedly changed due to your child’s needs or behaviors?
- Do you have a boss who will be understanding of your family life that includes stress, many appointments, phone calls at work, leaving for emergencies, etc.?
- Will you be open to therapists and adoption professionals telling you to try a way of parenting that are different than what you experienced as a child or how you may have parented other children?
- How would you describe your level of patience when children exhibit challenging behavior?
- How do you handle a stressful day at work or confrontation with a family member or friend?
- What do you do each day to maintain balance?
- How good are you at forgiving yourself and others?
- What are some examples of how you deal with anger?
- Your child will likely have experienced neglect or abuse. What resources are you aware of to support a child with a trauma history?
- Are you someone who readily asks for help or likes to figure it out on your own?
- Do you know someone who has adopted from foster care? Do you feel comfortable talking to them about their experiences?
- Who are the support people in your life that you can call when you’re struggling?
- Are you open to using adoption related services to gain more education and resources?
Advocating for Child
- How will you educate family and friends on an ongoing basis to help them understand your child’s needs?
- Are you willing to be a persistent voice for your child so he or she receives the educational and support services needed to succeed, even when you feel you’re not being heard or understood?
- Are you willing to have tough conversations with people who don’t understand your child or who don’t respect your child’s life experience?