INTRODUCTION TO THE ADOPTION PROCESS
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The book, ADOPTING IN AMERICA: How To Adopt Within One Year offers thoughtful insight into the emotions of those making their first steps into what will eventually become the creation of their family through adoption:
When people think of the parties to an adoption—adoptive parents, birth parents, and the child—it is usually the adoptive parents who are perceived as the lucky ones. After all, it is reasoned, it is the adoptive parents who get to bring home a beautiful, newborn baby and start their family. And it is true . . . the adoptive parents are lucky, and will owe immeasurable gratitude to the birth mother who made it possible through her own sacrifice and unselfishness.
However, many people fail to realize the pain faced, and overcome, by every couple who has been unable to conceive their own child. Often years of frustration dealing with the unfairness of infertility must be overcome before even being emotionally ready to start considering adoption. So if anyone intimates that compassion in the adoption process should be reserved for only the birth mother and the child, excuse them for their ignorance, but recognize it for what it is - ignorance.
Adoption is a triad, with the adoptive parents, birth parents and the child having equal roles in its success. Adoptive parents should never let anyone tell them they have a secondary role in the adoption, or deserve any less respect. Adoption counselor Randolph Severson Ph.D., writes in his insightful booklet, A Letter to Adoptive Parents on Open Adoption, about his recognition of the trauma of infertility:
"My lesson came from an older man who didn't know enough to use the word infertility. He hadn't been educated as we say. After seeing each other in therapy for a few months, he ended a session by asking me if we could skip a week since the next week he had something to do. When I asked him what, he explained in a matter of fact voice, that next week's session fell on a day 20 years ago that he and his wife had lost their baby. It was a boy and he had been stillborn. And they had never been able to have any other children.
‘So every year on that day I go fishing,' he said, ‘so that up there, in the stillness, with the water lapping quietly up aside my boat, I think of all the things that me and Bob—we named him Bob—could have done together.
You know it has been so long it's got down to three things I think on. I wanted to show him how to ride a bicycle. I wanted to run along behind him with one hand on the seat and the other on the handle bars and see him take off and go, with me standing there smiling. I wanted to take him to a baseball game and smell that sweet spring night air, and watch somebody steal second base. I wanted him to see a good, fast, smart runner, crouch and go, a whir of white going lickety split down that line then, slide cleats up, and hear the umpire holler ‘safe.' I wanted to sit out one summer evening, a good blanket under our butts, one you could feel the grass beneath, and I wanted to show him the stars and name them the way my daddy did me. Orion's Belt. Orion's Belt. I wanted to say those words to him. And I do say them out loud, with just me and the old fish listening.'"
Adoption cannot cure infertility, but it can cure childlessness. After all you have been through in battling infertility, you deserve success in adoption—and you can obtain it—but you have to take the initiative. It will not come looking for you. Success in any venture of life requires education and hard work. Adoption is no exception. Adoptive parents who fully educate themselves about available options and work hard in applying proven techniques will almost always succeed—and succeed quickly. Just as scaling a steep mountain is easy for the trained mountain climber, adoption can be relatively easy for the trained adoptive parent. It will only be intimidating if you have not prepared for what you are doing and have not learned the ‘rules of the game.’
(The above except was reprinted with permission of the author, Randall Hicks.)
If you are a prospective adoptive parent considering adoption - whether it be a newborn, toddler or older child; via an agency or independent adoption; from the United States or another country - the information to guide you on this incredible journey is available. A good start is here at Adoption101.com. Our articles are here to educate and guide you in a step-by-step approach. We hope you enjoy them. When you are ready, you may wish to follow each article's links to helpful internet sites. These include such entities as the U.S. Department of Health's "Child Welfare Information Gateway" (although many governmental sites are difficult to use, this is an excellent site), the Adoptive Families of America (publishers of the popular and respected adoption magazine Adoptive Families, Resolve (a national infertility organization) and other helpful sites. Adoption101.com also offers a state-by-state listing of adoption agencies and attorneys, one of many starting points available to you in selecting an adoption professional to guide you.
If you are a birth parent starting the adoption process, there is a detailed article discussing: how to plan a safe and ethical adoption for you and your baby; guidance to selecting a qualified attorney or agency to assist you at no cost; and photo-resume letters prepared by adoptive parents waiting to adopt and hoping to meet someone like you. Before you leave, you will know the basics of the adoption process, and find possible adoptive parents for your child.
Whatever your goals in visiting Adoption101.com, the internet’s free Adoption School, we wish you good luck in your journey, and hope we are a part of your success. Now, it’s time for you to get to class. So select your seminars, and enjoy your education. Don’t forget, there is no gum chewing or talking permitted in class!
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