Happy parents kissing their baby girlThe journey of adoption is an experience that you likely will never forget. You are preparing to provide a life full of opportunities and love for a child, and you are also starting an exciting new chapter of your own life.
 
While there is so much excitement through the process leading up to adoption, there are also some other feelings you may experience as well. You may experience some stress, nervousness, and anxiety preparing for this next step, which is entirely normal.
 
As you approach this new journey in life, make sure to take the time you have right now to prepare for anything that might come your way. Preparing now will help ease any stress, anxiety, or feelings of self-doubt that might come when you bring your new baby home. To get you started, here are some tips to help you prepare for adoption.
 

1. Do Your Research

The adoption process can be intimidating, but doing everything you can to prepare yourself will be in your best interest. Doing your research is the best way to begin preparing for this life-changing experience.
 
An excellent place to start is by going to a local bookstore or community library and picking up books about adoption. These books will provide you with information about the process and what to expect after.
 
You may also consider going online to look at websites offering guidance and advice on the topic. Online research can also allow you to look at different adoption agencies and what they have to offer.
 
As there are many adoption agencies out there, it is important that you find one that best fits your needs and will support you throughout the entire process. Not only is their support important for you, but it is also important for the child being adopted.
 
An adoption team that will allow you to ask questions or express any concerns you may have is crucial to your adoption journey, so doing your research on each agency you are considering will help you choose the right one.
 
One last thing is to make sure you do some research about the different state adoption laws that may apply to you. Adoption laws will vary depending on where you are in the country. Important factors such as who can be adopted, who is able to adopt, and what is included in a background check should all be parts of the local adoption process that you are familiar with.
 

2. Make Financial Plans

Adding a new member to your family can be costly; whether you adopt, conceive, or go through IVF, the costs can add up quickly. Before reaching out to an adoption agency about your interest, it is best to sit down and create an accurate assessment of your finances. Not only will you have to worry about the costs of what your child will need after you bring them home, but the adoption process can also be an expensive undertaking.
 
Taking the time to sit down by yourself or with your significant other, and go through all your monthly bills, how much money you spend on miscellaneous things, and how much money you have left each month will help you to get a more informed idea of where you stand financially. Then, once you have written down all of your monthly finances, you can begin to discuss this next big financial decision further and whether or not you are ready for it.
 
If you feel as though this is a step you are able to partake in, remember that there are resources out there that can assist you in your adoption process. Securing a personal loan, for example, is a great option that helps provide you with the necessary funds to pay for the adoption costs upfront and gives you the flexibility to pay it back over time. If you and your extended family have saved up a significant amount of money, you might be able to forego outside financial assistance from an institution and borrow money from your family instead.
 
While the adoption costs will be the priority, it is also wise to consider some of the essential items you will need once it is time to bring your new child into your home. Some baby essentials to have on hand are a sturdy crib, diapers, formula, and an NHTSA-approved car seat to bring your child home in.
 

3. Prepare for Parenthood

Parenthood is such a fun and exciting journey to experience, and experiencing it through the process of adoption is extremely rewarding.
 
As the birth mother’s due date approaches, it is normal to feel overwhelmed with emotions. Feelings of uneasiness and doubt are completely normal, but you can combat these feelings by being as prepared as you can. So far, we have been discussing different ways you can prepare for the adoption process, but let’s turn our attention to how to prepare for parenthood itself.
 
Use the time you have right now to do research, reading, and all the learning you can do about parenthood. An excellent place to start is in the library. Just like with adoption, there are plenty of medically reviewed books about parenthood that touch on everything from raising a toddler to how to handle a teenager. To get a list of books started, ask your doctor the next time you visit for a list of recommendations.
 
Besides reading, get yourself out there and take parenting classes with your spouse. No matter if it is your first time having a child or if you are a seasoned vet, getting a refresher can only help. These classes give prospective parents everything they need to know before bringing a new child home. Going to these classes will provide you with day-to-day knowledge on how to be a parent. Knowing how to do the little things like installing a car seat the right way or correctly burping a baby are important but can be easy to overlook. Even the busiest parents should have time to take a class. Now with all the online learning and virtual services offered, you and your spouse can take adoptive parenting classes completely online.
 
Preparing for parenthood will take you all the way up to the day you bring your child home and beyond! Knowing how to do everyday tasks like changing a diaper or securing a child in the car seat will be important to know before you even have your new child. Taking those extra steps to prepare yourself, the home, and your family, will put your mind at ease and allow you to know that your baby is coming home to a safe space.
 

Ready for Adoption!

If you are someone who is fortunate enough to experience the journey of adoption, making use of these tips will be to your benefit and help you prepare.
 
Whether this is your first child or you are growing your family, leaning on these support systems will give you some relief as you take on this major responsibility. Being able to enjoy the process from start to finish will leave you with a positive experience and can help to encourage others around you to adopt as well.

Linda Rotz
Written by Linda Rotz

Linda Rotz, CWCM-S, CWCM-Trainer, ACC, is the Director of Adoption Services at Lifetime. Linda has worked in the field of adoption for 20 years within the child welfare/foster care system in Florida. She has degrees in Mass Communications and Human Development, and completed graduate studies in social work.

Due to her extensive expertise, Linda was called upon to write adoption procedures and training materials in Florida. She is certified as an Adoption Specialist, Child Welfare Case Manager Supervisor and Child Welfare Trainer in the state of Florida.