The Adoption Preparation Checklist

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Adopting a child is a major life change, and as such, there’s a lot of preparation that comes with it. If you are just now beginning to think about growing your family through adoption, the following is an adoption preparation checklist that should help you understand what you’ll need to complete beforehand.

  • Fully grieve infertility.

    Many families come to the adoption decision only after a long, painful struggle with infertility. If this is the case for you, it’s important that you fully grieve your inability to have a child biologically before beginning the adoption process. You should never attempt to adopt a child unless you are fully and completely committed to adoption.

  • Be on the same page as your spouse about your adoption plan.

    Just as it’s important for each family member to be ready to move forward with adoption, it’s also key that each spouse is on the same page about how to go about it. Do you want to adopt domestically, internationally, or through foster care? Do you want to adopt an infant or an older child? Do you have a preference on sex? All of these things should be discussed before ever contacting an adoption professional.

  • Be just as excited to grow through adoption as you would’ve been to grow biologically.

    You shouldn’t just be resigned to adding to your family through adoption. You should be ecstatic!

  • Understand that there will be highs and lows in the adoption process.

    The adoption process can be long and, sometimes, tough. Understand, though, that it will all be worth it in the end, and prepare to take it in stride.

  • Decide how to communicate your adoption decision to your loved ones.

    You are going to need a support system as you go through the adoption journey. Friends and family members may have concerns, so let them address those, and then let them be excited with you about the idea of adopting!

  • If you have other children, make sure they understand what’s happening.

    How you do so will depend largely on the ages of your other children and whether they’ve encountered adoption before. Make sure they’re excited about gaining a new brother or sister.

  • Be sure that you meet the legal requirements for adoption in your state.

    Each state has different requirements for adoption in terms of age, marital status and more. Familiarize yourself with the adoption requirements in your state and whether or not you meet them.

  • Have a plan to pay for the adoption.

    Adoption can be expensive. Will the cost come from your savings? Will you apply for grants or the Adoption Tax Credit? Do you plan to hold fundraisers? Also, check to see if your work offers any adoption-related benefits.

  • Complete a home study in your state.

    No matter which type of adoption you pursue, you must have a completed home study. This is essentially an assessment of your readiness to adopt that happens in three phases: a documentation stage that includes background checks, a home inspection and interviews with each family member living in the home.

  • Ensure that you have a bedroom or space for a new baby.

    While the room doesn’t need to be decorated or fully stocked, it’s important that you have a designated space in your home for him or her to fill.

  • Plan for childcare if neither you nor your spouse will be a stay-at-home parent.

    Of course, you don’t always know when the adoption process will finish and when your child will come home. However, you should have a game plan for when he or she does arrive. Will you take time off from work? Will you need a sitter immediately? Can you afford quality childcare?

  • Purchase the basic necessities to raise a baby.

    Don’t go overboard with baby items. It can be painful to see a tiny little dress or room decked out in baby blue when you haven’t been matched with a child yet. However, do make sure you have the basics at home so that if you do get a call in the middle of the night, you’ll be able to care for your child until you can shop for the rest.

Adoption preparation can be scary, but we promise, it will all be worth it. For more information about how to best prepare to bring your child home, speak with your adoption professional.

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