Questions to Ask Yourself
Thinking about adoption is the beginning of the process. Below is a list of questions to help prepare yourself.
- Do I want to adopt a boy or girl?
- What age of child am I looking for?
- Am I interested in adopting a sibling group?
- Would I consider adopting a sibling group in order to get the age of child I am interested in?
- Would I be willing to have on-going contact (open communication) with a child's birth parents?
- Could I parent a child who may have been sexually abused, physically abused and/or neglected?
- Could I parent a child that has an on-going medical issue, may be developmentally delayed, or diagnosed with a developmental disability?
- Could I parent a child who may have been exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero?
- Does the ethnicity of the child I adopt matter?
- How does my extended family feel about adoption?
- If I did adopt a child of a different ethnicity than myself how would my family feel?
- How am I going to handle adoption-related questions that my child may ask?
- Provide daily care and nurturing of children in foster care.
- Advocate for children in their schools and communities.
- Inform the children's caseworkers about adjustments to the home, school, and community, as well as any problems that may arise, including any serious illnesses, accidents, or serious occurrences involving the foster children or their own families.
- Make efforts as team members with children's caseworkers towards reunifying children with their birth families.
- Provide a positive role model to birth families, and
- Help children learn life skills.
- Provide permanent homes and a lifelong commitment to children into adulthood and beyond.
- Provide for the short-term and long-term needs of children.
- Provide for children's emotional, mental, physical, social, educational, and cultural needs, according to each child's developmental age and growth.
- May become certified as a foster family and accept children who are not legally free for adoption, but whose permanency plan is adoption.
Open communication agreements allow contact between the adoptive parents and birth parents. In some instances there is also contact allowed between birth parents and the adopted child. The frequency of contact is negotiated and communication may include letters, e-mails, telephone calls, or visits. It is important to note that even in an open adoption, the legal relationship between a birth parent and child is severed. The adoptive parents are the legal parents of an adopted child.
The goals of open adoption are:
- To minimize the child's loss of relationships.
- To maintain and celebrate the adopted child's connections with all the important people in his or her life.
- To allow the child to resolve losses with truth, rather than the fantasy adopted children often create when no information or contact with their birth family is available.