You and your spouse have decided to adopt! You are both probably feeling an array of emotions; excitement, anxiety, overwhelmed and even fear. Deciding to begin the adoption process is a big decision, and one that you may have gone through many hurdles to get to. Maybe you have gone through infertility or maybe you just feel the call to adopt. The adoption process is stressful and can put a strain on your marriage. It is important that you prepare your marriage for the adoption journey. Whatever the reason you are preparing to adopt, here are some things to consider before beginning the adoption journey.
If you and your spouse have experienced the pain of infertility, give yourselves time to go through the steps of the grieving process. This is a very personal process and the timeline will vary from person to person. It may also vary between you and your spouse. You may find counseling beneficial. Look for ways to support one another during this time as well as give each other space to grieve on your own time. Wait until you are both on the same page, and once you have moved into the acceptance stage you will be ready to look at alternative family building options such as adoption.
Once you have decided to adopt, you and your spouse can research the various types of adoption to see which type would be best for your family. Ask yourself questions such as what age of child are we interested in? Do we want a newborn or older child? If you have other children in the home, consider how the adoption of another child will impact your children already in the home. Are you open to special needs? Talk to other families who have adopted. These are all things to consider when deciding which path of adoption to take. Don’t pressure each other into a decision. One of you may need more time than the other, and that is ok. Once you are both on the same page, then make the decision together.
After you have decided which adoption path to take it is important to decide how to finance your adoption. Adoption fees can be expensive, but there are many ways to finance your adoption as long as you have a plan. Financing an adoption can put a strain on your marriage, but having a financial plan can help ease that strain. If you have undergone fertility treatments, they may have drained your savings. Start an adoption savings account and contribute money each month to it, pay off any debt, and plan for ways to fundraise. Adoption fees are generally paid at the time services are rendered, so you will be able to space out when the fees are due and plan for them.
Communication is vital to any marriage, but especially for families going into the adoption process. It is important to keep open communication, respect each other and remain committed to each other. The adoption process consists of a lot of paperwork, home study visits, lots of waiting and often times unpredictability. Processes can change, wait times can change, and the stress of the uncertainty and waiting can cause anxiety. Find ways to support each other during these stressful times. Pray together. Spend time with each other doing fun things that are not adoption related. Go out to eat, take walks or even try to get away for a vacation. Make sure to give each other space as well. Find a trusted friend to talk to or an adoption support group of other families in the adoption process. Lean on your church for support.
Making your marriage a priority and following these suggestions should help your adoption process go more smoothly. Support each other, set realistic expectations, have a financial plan and be on the same page and you will make it through the adoption journey. It will be well worth it!
International Program Coordinator