Today we’re sharing with you what may be the most important key to adoption success in infant adoption: education. But first, some background information. We have over 30 years of working with adoptive parents and assisting birth parents. In that time, we’ve seen what the successful adoptive families do and what struggling adoptive families have not done.
This post is part one in a two-part series of adoption education. Here are 4 powerful (and simple!) ways to get the most benefit from what you learn:
1. Learn from those who have already adopted successfully.
Avoid taking advice from people who haven’t “been there, done that”. Plenty of people who give adoption advice are wrong; they’re simply giving their opinions. They don’t have in-the-trenches experience with adopting. If they’ve never adopted, or their adoption was several years ago, you’ll find that the laws, methods, and adoption experiences have changed. So, following their advice can be frustrating and a waste of your time. Even worse, it may lead you down the wrong path.
Many people are uneducated about adoption, and learn what they know about it from the media. In reality, most adoptions go smoothly and without issues. But, the media knows that drama sells, even if it characterizes a tiny part of the adoption experience.
2. Read and listen actively.
As you read adoption books or listen to webinars, think to yourself: “How can this be applied to my adoption journey?” Write down notes so you can apply what you learn. If you don’t take notes, you’ll forget what you learned, and you won’t benefit.
3. Schedule time for learning about adoption.
Humans spend three to eight hours each week discovering learning new things. Since you’re likely busy already, allocate some time in your schedule for adoption education. Making the time is key to your success!
For example, knowing basic adoption terms will prevent you from having to spend money unnecessarily for an attorney to explain simple terms you can understand on your own. The time you’ve scheduled to learn about adoption can also be spent creating an adoption budget. Think about how you’ll fund your adoption.
4. Don’t strive for perfection
Don’t put lots of pressure on yourself: you don’t have to know everything right away. Begin by learning adoption terms, and then read stories from birth mothers to learn their point-of-view.
When you have questions about something, write them down. You can then ask others and do further research. Don’t try to be perfect. Just take things one topic at a time. “When my husband and I were adopting, I set aside one hour a day to adoption. That hour was devoted to learning about adoption. I did this by speaking to others that had adopted, reading books, and searching for adoption professionals,” says adoptive mother and Lifetime’s Founder, Mardie Caldwell.