Ah, the new year. The slate is clean, hopes are high, and motivation is strong. It’s a great time to think about what you want to achieve in the year ahead and start making plans to reach those resolutions.
If you’re like many hopeful parents, one of your priorities may be adopting a baby in 2020. If so, here are six goals you can set for yourself as you embark on your adoption journey this year. No matter how far you get in the process, setting — and keeping — these resolutions will make your adoption that much easier.
1. Learn as much as you can
There are few topics as complex and beautiful as adoption. When you’re new to the process, it can all be a little overwhelming. You probably have questions and concerns about open adoption, what it’s like to parent an adopted child and more. Take the time to learn as much as you can about these topics, and you will be better prepared for the journey ahead.
Here are just a few of the ways you can educate yourself on adoption in 2020:
- Follow adoption blogs, bookmark informational websites (like this one!) and subscribe to adoption newsletters.
- Listen to adoption podcasts and read books about adoption and adoptive parenting.
- Learn (and use) positive adoption language.
- Take advantage of any adoption training opportunities offered by your agency.
- Seek out other adoptive families, birth parents and adoptees, and talk to them about their experiences.
2. Look at adoption from all sides of the triad
Of all the adoption topics you can learn about, the most important might be the adoptee experience. Adoption is a lifelong process for everyone involved — but especially for the adopted child. Before even bringing your child home, it’s important to understand how this experience will affect them and what you can do as a parent to help them develop a strong sense of identity. Know how you will talk about adoption with your child, how you will address their feelings of grief and loss, and more. Make a point of learning from other adoptee voices, and make it a goal to have a plan in place by the time you bring your baby home.
At the same time, adoptive parents also have plenty to learn from the other side of the adoption triad — birth families. Unfortunately, there are some persistent myths about birth mothers out there. Educate yourself about potential birth parents and the process they go through to place a baby for adoption, and let go of any preconceived ideas you might have about who birth parents are and why they make this choice. Talk to birth parents about the things they wish adoptive parents knew or, if you don’t know any birth parents personally, read their stories online.
3. Have your profile pictures ready to go
If you plan on adopting a baby, chances are you will need to create a profile that prospective birth parents can look at as they search for adoptive parents. Exactly what you include in this profile and how you create it may vary depending on the adoption professional you work with — but in every case, you will need to include a variety of current, high-quality photos.
You can get ahead of this process by thinking about the types of photos you want to showcase in your profile. These don’t need to be professional, posed shots — in fact, prospective birth parents would rather see you and your family in action! Keep this in mind during any upcoming activities, vacations and family get-togethers, and look for photo opportunities that capture day-to-day life with your family. It is also a good idea to gather a few photos of your home, pets and extended family, as well.
Start a special folder on your computer to save any pictures you may want to use in your adoption profile. Make a goal to have everything you need saved in one, easy-to-find location — this will speed your process up when it is time to put your adoption profile together.
4. Set an adoption financing goal
For most families, it takes careful planning and preparation to afford the costs of adoption — and the new year is a great time to set some financial goals that will get you closer to covering your adoption budget. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Savings – Take a look at your current budget, and see if you can make little changes that add up to big savings. Make a goal to set aside a certain dollar amount each month for your adoption fund.
- Fundraising – Set an adoption fundraising goal for this year, whether that’s a certain number of events you want to organize or a certain dollar amount you want to reach.
- Grants – Applying for grants is one of the best things you can do to finance your adoption. Make grant applications a priority in 2020; create a list of all the grants you want to apply for, and give yourself a deadline for each one.
5. Find the perfect adoption agency
Choosing an adoption professional is one of the first and most important steps you will take in your entire process. If you haven’t already committed to an agency or attorney, make that one of your first goals in 2020. Research the different types of adoption professionals and determine which will fit your needs, then spend some time contacting various agencies and reading their reviews. Look for an agency that responds in a timely fashion, provides honest answers to your questions and offers all of the services you need for a successful adoption.
The professional you choose will set the tone for the rest of the process, and they’ll be there to guide you each step of the way. Make selecting the right adoption agency one of your resolutions for the new year, and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your 2020 adoption goals!
6. Stay organized!
Whatever other goals you set in 2020, one of the best things you can do for yourself (and your adoption process) is to stay organized. Make to-do lists, save copies of all your paperwork in a centralized location, and set reminders when it is time to update any of your home study documents or background clearances. If you make organization a goal from the get-go, the process will be much smoother in the months to come!
If you are hoping to adopt, what are some of your goals and resolutions for 2020? Let us know in the comments below!