As the season of gift-giving and New Year resolution-making begins, I can’t help but wonder if any of those who have told me they are thinking about adoption are actually going to take action. I have heard about wishes and dreams of adoption from many people, followed by countless excuses and stories of procrastination. There’s nothing like the holiday season to bring on that eye-watering, heart-warming gratitude for all the blessings in life, especially our children. So it seems to be a great time to make that New Year’s resolution and get the ball rolling.
Adoption is not easy and requires a prodigious amount of determination and assistance from others to come to fruition. Reaching out to friends for help is difficult, and for some, reaching out to professionals and strangers is even more daunting. Finding the right lawyer to represent your interests and rights can make or break your success. Finding someone who can conduct your home study with competence, sensitivity and discretion can make the process much easier for you and your partner. Most importantly, finding a facilitator or agency that will promote your interest, preferences, and willingness to adopt with birth mothers can make the adoption actually happen, like it did for us.
The decision to adopt often takes many years of consideration. Couples don’t usually make such an important decision lightly and sometimes each partner makes the decision at a different time. There might be a primary caretaker in the partnership who may take a little longer to commit to the additional responsibility of a baby and the 24-7 care required. For couples who have no children for various reasons, including infertility or illness, the decision to adopt may take them several years to reach. Where there are already other children in the family, consideration is required before adding a sibling for them to adjust to. Financial issues may also hinder thoughts of another mouth to feed.
All of the essential factors in the adoption equation may make for a complicated, multi-step process but the results can be extremely rewarding. My point today is to encourage those who are on the fence to move forward. I want to encourage people to accept the hard work and potential distress when adoption doesn’t go as planned. Readers who follow these posts have heard how my life has improved because of my adopted daughter. They have heard about the difficult issues we have struggled with personally and socially, but mostly, they have read about the countless moments when I have been grateful for my decision to adopt ten years ago.
As my daughter’s friends learn that she was adopted at birth, many of their mothers have told me of their disappointment at not adopting another child when they were younger. They have assorted reasons for failing to adopt– broken relationships, work, or money among them. I detest regret and although I have many in my life, choosing to miss out on adoption is not one of them.
This is the first year that I have been writing a blog at the holiday season. Gift-giving is prevalent as the eight nights of Hanukkah begin and as we approach Christmas, watching the lights brighten our neighborhood. As we celebrate the warmth of the holidays with our families close by, either physically or technologically, it’s a wonderful time to consider finally making the decision to start, add to or complete your family. If it’s easier, approach it as a gift to yourself and your family. If you’re waiting until the “right time”, it may never happen. If you’re waiting for the process of adoption to come to your door in some form, it will never happen. You need to reach out for help, advice and information. You need to commit to taking the first step and sometimes, making a New Year’s resolution works. It worked for me and I couldn’t be happier.