The idea of pursuing adoption can be very overwhelming! So much so that some prospective adoptive parents give up before they even get started. I understand! It’s a lot to think about. Where do you begin? Well, I’m here to tell you that if you just take it one step at a time, it’s A LOT less overwhelming. You may be thinking, “But, what steps do I take? What exactly should I do to begin the process?” Below, I outline 5 simple steps to get you started. These basic stepping stones could take you farther along your journey than you can even imagine. But before you start these, pray! Pray right now and every day for God’s peace and guidance as you embark on this exciting journey. Then, dive in! Follow these simple steps and see where He leads you.
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1. Basic Research
If you haven’t already started researching, decide on a starting point to gather more information. Will you research online? Speak to some friends who have adopted? Attend a free informational meeting at your local adoption agency or a combination of all of these?
Just start with one and go for it! You’re not committing to anything at this point. You’re just learning more to see if this is the right fit for you and your family.
Our journey started by doing a little of our own research and eventually attending an informational meeting. If you’d like to read more about our adoption journey, I go into quite a bit of detail here.
2. Just Breathe
Don’t get too wrapped up in all the details in the beginning. Adoption can be overwhelming but, like any worthwhile goal, when taken step by step, it’s very doable. You may already have some idea of whether you want to adopt a younger or older child and may be considering domestic or international adoption. But, don’t feel like you must have this all figured out in the beginning when you’re just starting your research.
We started the process thinking we were going to adopt from China but after attending an informational meeting, we made the shift to pursuing domestic adoption. It’s OK to just start gathering information, even if you’re unsure if you’ll even move forward. For more information on adoption costs and different types of adoption, check out this post.
3. Get Some Clarification
Once you’ve started gathering information and feel you want to move forward, another of the 5 simple steps is to get some level of clarification around what you think you want. For example, are you thinking you’ll adopt a newborn or older child? Are you leaning toward international or domestic adoption? Have you considered whether you are only open to certain races or genders? Are you open to adopting a child with known medical issues? Open or closed adoption? For some clarification, on the differences between open and closed adoption, read this.
These initial thoughts may change but it helps to have an idea of what you’re considering as you go pass the initial research stage to begin your adoption journey. But, just remember that things change. We started out very confident that we would pursue closed adoption. But, after learning more, we decided we were OK with open adoption and can’t imagine it any other way now.
And, at this point, if you haven’t already, you may want to include others in your adoption journey such as an agency or adoption lawyer so you can get a clearer idea of what’s next. Depending on what type of adoption you decide on and whether you decide to work with an agency or not will determine your next steps.
4. Think About Finances
Are you going to require financial assistance? Many families do! If so, this would be a good time to start researching options. Here you’ll find some great ways to fund adoption. And, I’ve prepared a comprehensive list of financial resources.
5. Read Some Books On Adoption
This is a great way to learn more and prepare for the journey. These can include practical how-to’s or books of encouragement. Just start with whatever speaks to you. There is no right or wrong here. Here are some options below. Just pick one to get started.
I hope these 5 simple steps help you take some action. Even the simple act of picking up a book on adoption can turn into more than you ever dream!