Whether you are seeking to adopt, placing a child up for adoption, or facilitating an adoption, there is a lot at stake – mentally, emotionally and financially.
Most of us know someone who has been adopted or friends or family members who have gone through the adoption process. Still, we wanted to learn more.
So we went right to the source: people who have been through it.
We asked everyone the same question: What is one thing you want people to know when it comes to adoption?
Some people gave short answers, while others listed a number of tips. We organized the adoption advice by categories:
Adopting a child
Placing a child for adoption
Life and adoption
ADOPTING A CHILD
Expect the Unexpected.
“One thing I would say is to “expect the unexpected.” Use the unexpected twists as a way to draw closer to God. And understand that sometimes “wait” or “no” might be the right answer – even though it is painful and doesn’t make sense. There are always twists and turns in the journey but remember that even though things may not go our way (and it may seem like government and agencies are against us at times), God is not surprised. He is at the helm. He will bring about His will and He loves the child you love even more than you do. Also, note that the waiting and the “Nos” are real losses (even though they might not seem like that to those around you). Surround yourself with others who understand and give yourself grace. Adoption is a messy and beautiful journey.” – Jami Kaeb, The Forgotten Initiative.
“When choosing to build your family by adoption, it’s important to know which type of adoption is right for you. Then read, research and ask LOTS of questions!” – Tracy Whitney, Creating a Family.
“There are really valuable, tangible resources out there that can adequately prepare you for success on the journey.” – Mike Berry, father of eight adopted children and co-author (along with his wife) of the blog, Confessions of an Adoptive Parent.
Adoption doesn’t have to be expensive.
“Foster care and adoption is free if you go through your state; children flourish in loving homes; you better have a solid marriage; caring for vulnerable children is a command to obey (James 1:27); and everyone can do something to give hope and love to these kids.”-Dan Dumas, advocate for vulnerable children, former Special Advisor for Foster Care and Adoption to the Governor of Kentucky.
The journey can be complicated.
“That it’s far more complicated than people think. That it is interlaced with loss and grief. That it can offer a second chance, but family preservation should be the priority. That adopted parents should value the voices of adoptees and birth families.” – author of The Adoptive Black Mom.
Not every adoption has a happy ending.
“I wish I had known that not every adoption story had a “happily ever after” ending to it. I had never heard any stories of disappointed or heartbroken parents. It was all, “Her file was really scary, but we took a leap of faith and now she’s on honor roll in school!” or “We were really afraid, but we persevered, and now he’s so happy and bonded to us.” No one is saying, “I’m pretty sure after two years that my kid couldn’t pick me out of a crowd.” When we were told in pre-adoptive training to imagine worst case scenarios when looking at files, they didn’t really explain what worst-case scenario could entail. I naively thought worst case in our situation would mean that he might need an Individualized Education Program (IEP) when he reached school age. I didn’t think it would mean a child who would never speak.”
“There are beautiful adoptions. And there are hard adoptions. And everything in the middle. I’m very blessed to have experienced happier scenarios with my girls,” – Shecki, author of the blog Greatly Blessed.
PLACING A CHILD FOR ADOPTION
“I think people should know a couple of things about birthmothers. Just because we placed our children for adoption, doesn’t mean they are unwanted or unloved. The minute I knew of my son’s existence he was loved and wanted. Sixteen years later, he is still loved and wanted. Secondly, I think people should know that birthmothers don’t fit into a box or a type. There are so many stereotypes about birthmothers that are portrayed through the media. Birthmothers come in all ages, ethnicities, religions, career paths, etc. Lastly, a birthmother doesn’t place her child for adoption and just move on. Every holiday, every birthday, and all the time in between, that child is loved, missed, thought of, and prayed for. While we may move forward in life – have a family or a career or be generally happy and content – there is always a missing piece.” – Coley Strickland, co-founder and president of Birth Mom Buds.
Be open to possibilities.
“It can be an absolutely beautiful thing when both the birth mother and the adoptive parent(s) build a connection and where the child is placed and received with love.” – Gabby Remole, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Caseworker and Director of Adoption Planners.
Education is key
“I think adoption education should be integrated into schools, like the history of adoption in the U.S. (orphan train) or introducing adoption and foster care themes to children so they know some of their friends may have different home backgrounds. Education would make growing up adopted feel a little more normal, even if it is not. Educating educators on students with that background is key. Instead of making a student feel left out, they should use it as an opportunity to include everyone in a unique teaching opportunity. People need to take the time to understand the adoptee perspective more. It’s complex and different for each and every one of us. To get to the nitty gritty tough stuff, adoptees will eventually ask a parent. It’s important to go to the source and learn from those who have been there.” – Robyn Cisar, an adoptee, blogger and adoption advocate.
LIFE AND ADOPTION
Family is what you make it.
“Family is family; we’re a real family,” and “Ethics matter. It’s not about getting a baby ASAP. It’s about ethics.” – Rachel Garlinghouse, mother of four adopted children and author of the blog White Sugar Brown Sugar and numerous books about adoption.”
Adoption enriches lives in unexpected ways.
“It’s more about giving your family for a child before it is about getting a child for your family…For whatever change you might bring about in a child’s life, the amount of transformation they will bring about in yours is exponentially greater.” – Jason Johnson, author, blogger and director of Church Ministry Initiatives with Christian Alliance for Orphans.
Turner Thornton is a well-known family law attorney in Fort Worth who leads the Varghese Summersett Family Law Group. Turner has successfully guided hundreds of individuals and families through the most trying period of their lives as a skilled negotiator and savvy litigator.
Turner Thornton concentrates his practice on family law, including divorce, child custody, contempt, and modification cases. He is experienced in handling estates with significant and unique assets that can be difficult to value. He finds amicable resolutions where possible to conserve his client's resources, but knows how to take the gloves off if the situation calls for it. He has had remarkable results in and outside of the courtroom based largely on his ability and desire to understand his clients' needs and guide them on the pathway to what success looks like for them.