All parenting is a leap of faith, but adoptive parents have a few extra choices to make while leaping into the adoption process.
The unknown possibilities inherent in adoption may sound scary, but deciding to parent a child is still a powerful declaration of faith, hope, determination and love. Romanticism has no place in adoption, however! Parent prep resources can be a useful means to gauge a family’s readiness to adopt, and can help prospective adopters clarify what they can provide or handle.
Choosing to parent a special needs child, for instance, demands an understanding of the long-term medical and financial ramifications of the child’s need or disability, and the impact of these potential issues on the existing family.
Adopting transracially requires adoptive parents to become race conscious, and to take responsibility for reaching out to people of differing cultures and ethnicities. Ignoring racism is not an option for multi-racial families; examining the importance of competent transracial parenting prior to adopting is a necessary exercise, and one vital to family fit.
Family fit means more than having enough space at the table—like all moms and dads, adoptive parents must decide if what they have to give will be enough, and if a better family balance will be created by adding a child. Parents must also carefully consider family fit when adopting out of birth order, or when creating sibling-ship between an adopted child and a birth child. Consciously building a family is a satisfying, joyful experience, but the work goes more smoothly when results are expected, understood and nurtured.
Parent education, through books and workshops--and parent awareness, through self-understanding and experience, are useful measurements of readiness for those beginning the adoption process.