Are You Ready to Adopt?

You’re thinking of adopting a child. You’re learning as much as you can about the process and the issues. But, you keep coming back to the same question: How will I know I am ready to take this life-changing step? To answer this question, you need to think about why you want to adopt. Your motives can reveal a lot about your readiness. To help you assess them, I have assembled a variety of motives expressed over the years by families that I have worked with. None of these is made-up. Perhaps you will recognize yourself in one – or several. Beside each motive, I have offered my opinion or advice regarding the wisdom of such thinking.

I Want to Adopt Because:

Reasons                      Barb’s Advice
I want a playmate for my birthchild. Hire a neighbor’s child.
My religion tells me to reach out to those less fortunate than I am. Put a big donation in the collection plate next Sunday.
My infertility is a constant sadness. It hurts terribly. Infertility is devastating, but you must understand that adopting does not cure it.
We are quite well off and could give so many things to a child. Write a check to your favorite children’s charity.
Our marriage is shaky, and a child will bring us back together. It will never happen.
Since we can’t have birth children, I guess we might as well adopt. It’s a start, but you need to get past that notion of second best.
There’s no difference anyway. Adoptive parenting and birth parenting are really the same. Aren’t they? No. Neither is better or worse, but they ARE different.
I really want to adopt but my husband is ambivalent. He’ll come around once the child is ours. What if he doesn’t?
I feel so empty inside. A child will fill up that emptiness. Find a friend.
I just want to cry when I think about all those poor homeless children. I think I’ll take one in. No child needs pity. Donate to the missions.
There’s absolutely no child I couldn’t love. Ouch! I could show you a few.
I am a teacher (or mental health professional or social worker or doctor), and I am a “pro” at dealing with children. Being a child professional is a lot different than being someone’s parent.
All these children really need is a lot of love. I used to think that too. Now I know better.
I/We just really like kids and want to add one (or more) to our family. I want to be someone’s parent. I know I have a lot to learn but I want to begin. Yes! Go for it, you’re on the right road.



Source: Barbara Holtan, Former Executive Director of the The Adoption Exchange Association in Baltimore, Maryland, Reprinted with permission of the author, originally published in Adoptive Families, March/April 2000

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