Most people don’t come to the decision to adopt lightly. In some cases, this choice results from an inability to have children of one’s own, either due to medical restrictions or because an adult is unmarried but looking to add the joy of child rearing to his or her life. For others, the idea of adoption is preferable to pregnancy and labor for physical reasons, while some are addressing social concerns centering on the vast number of orphans in the world seeking a home with loving parents. And many who choose to take all of these factors into consideration before making this weighty and life-altering decision. But before you go ahead and start filling out paperwork and submitting to background checks, there are a few more things you’ll definitely want to think about.
For starters, you need to make sure you’re ready for this journey because it’s bound to be a long one. It is estimated that the average adoption could take several years although you will likely hear assurances that it will all be wrapped up within just a few months. First you have to be put on a waiting list, and this is especially true if you want to adopt a baby (and most couples do). If you’re willing to consider bringing older children into your family, you may be able to fast-track to some extent, but at the very least you can expect several months of waiting, first to find the child, and then to finalize the adoption process. Some would-be parents also consider adopting abroad, and in some countries, you can expedite the procedures by greasing palms. But this may not be in your or the child’s best interest and you never know what kind of trouble could result.
In truth, you have to prepare yourself for the fact that you could face several issues when it comes to adopting a child. In case you didn’t know, the birth parents have a lot of rights. And at any time during the adoption process, they could show up to try to reclaim their child. Even if you have a child living in your home that has been with you for a couple of years (or more), and even if the adoption is complete, you may find yourself in court battling to keep a child that has become a member of your family, that you have been caring for over the years while the birth parents were nowhere to be found. And unfortunately, courts tend to err on the side of biology.
The point is that you really need to be sure that you’re ready for the tough road ahead before you start fostering or searching orphanages in Malawi. If you don’t have the courage of conviction to stick it out, fight tooth and nail, and spend every last financial resource in pursuit of your family, then you might want to rethink your decision to adopt. If, however, you have plenty of love to give a child and no other options for having one on your own, and you’re willing to risk loss in order to find that missing piece that will make your life complete, then perhaps adoption is right for you. You might end up one of the lucky ones that smoothly sails through the choppy seas of the adoption process.