The good news? The number of children in foster care in the US–and waiting to be adopted–has been trending downward* in recent years. The bad news? There are still a staggering 147 million orphans worldwide waiting for a forever home. But there is hope! A growing number of couples are considering adoption or foster care as a means of growing their families and meeting the needs of these waiting children.
Decades ago, adoption was the path chosen by couples who faced infertility, but few others. In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of families who feel called to adoption, regardless of their personal circumstance. They want to adopt because they feel compelled to show the love of Christ to these children who are of infinite value to God! It’s not their “Plan B,”; it’s their “Plan A”!
If you’ve ever considered adoption or foster care, you likely need lots of information to feel confident about your decision. From choosing a reputable agency to considering the potential challenges, we’ve outlined some advice from veteran adoptive parents to help you get the answers you need. Adoption might not be easy, but parenting a biological child is no cakewalk either. Take a look at our 4 Foster Care or Adoption Tips care to learn more.
1. Choose your adoption agency with care.
Because adoption is often an expensive affair wherein large sums of money are being paid for documents, social workers’ services, translators, travel, and other needs, it sadly attracts a few individuals who seek to take advantage of couples looking to adopt. Networking with other adoptive families can be a good way to learn about agencies they’ve used and the types of experiences they had. Organizations with ties to your local church or denomination can also be a good pathway.
2. Make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page.
This may seem so obvious it’s ridiculous to say. But when one person is passionate about a calling like adoption or foster care, it can cloud your vision with regard to your spouse’s readiness to embrace the same calling. iMOM Director Susan Merrill had to walk through this journey with her husband, Mark, who didn’t feel moved to adopt as quickly as he did. However, in God’s time, it all came together and their desire to bring not one, but two new children into their family was completely shared!
3. Go into adoption with your eyes wide open.
Go into adoption with your eyes wide open. A good agency will require you as a potential adoptive or foster parent to become well aware of the challenges that come with integrating anew child into your family. No two experiences are alike, just as no two children are alike. But it’s wise to understand that there are some struggles adoptive and foster parents face as they love their children toward full emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Most of these challenges can be worked through with lots of love and patience. But going into the experience prepared for those speed bumps and armed with the resources to help you overcome them can make all the difference!
4. Understand the impact on your current children.
If you have other children, welcoming a new sibling into the fold will be a major event in their lives. Just as with giving birth to another biological child, some older siblings are delighted with the new arrival — others need a little convincing. Make sure you talk through the adoption or foster care process and what it will mean for your family so your children have a chance to adjust to the idea. Keep an eye on their emotional needs as things change so you can alleviate anxieties and love them well too.
Want to be inspired? Read the thoughts of NFL coach Clyde Christensen, who was adopted as a child. Then let me ask you this, have you ever thought about adopting? What’s holding you back? You can hear Susan’s story (founder of iMom) of adoption here. Here are more training videos to help you with your adoption process.