You and your husband have recently been discussing expanding your family by adopting a child. While adoption can be a joyous and meaningful experience, it can also be very complicated, both during the process and after.
The decision to adopt is something that should not be taken lightly. This decision will deeply affect your life and the life of the child you are thinking of adopting. It is important that you weigh all the positive outcomes along with the difficult challenges that will come with adoption.
It is also important that you consult with a Tennessee attorney in order to understand adoption laws in the state.
Read below for things you should know before starting the adoption process.
The adoption is about the child
The most important person involved is the child being adopted. Since the child is the only person in the process that does not have choice in the matter, it is important that you make every effort to secure the best possible outcome.
Stay focused on the child throughout the process. If it looks as though your home may not be the best environment for the child, it might be best that you do not adopt that particular child. Part of having a successful adoption is finding the right match for both you and the child.
Someone is losing out
While the completion of the adoption will be a very happy moment for you, keep in mind that the child you are adopting is losing something. For older children, they lose the life they previously had. For the child, that prior life could have been happy. Her foster parents could have been very loving and stable, but unable to adopt. She is leaving behind everything and everyone she knew to become a member of your family.
Find out everything you can
Before the adoption, educate yourself on the process and what you can expect after the adoption is complete. There are numerous online courses that are available to take. Some agencies will actually require that you complete a pre-adoption course as part of the requirements.
Join a group for adoptive parents and talk to them about their experiences. Other parents that have gone through the process can give you practical advice for before and after the adoption.
Get a team together
Before you even meet the child you might adopt, the agency will provide you with information about the child. This will give you time to find professionals that can help you with the transition. For example, if the child is coming from a background of abuse, you might want to consider finding an appropriate child therapist. Or you may need to speak with health care providers if your child has special needs.
Don't take on more than you can handle
Be honest about what you can and cannot handle. Taking on a child that requires a high level of special care may be too much for you to handle. Be sure you are emotionally and financially prepared for all the challenges that may come with the child you adopt.
Adoption can be a very complicated and lengthy court process, sometimes taking more than a year. Before starting the process, consult with local Knoxville attorney with family law experience.