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Is Adoption Right For You?

Updated on October 4, 2013

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About the Author

"Too many children in foster care are falling through cracks. Be a hero, take the time learn about adoption today."
Bruce Willis

I am not an adoption professional. I have no reason for writing this article other than the fact that adoption is an important decision, one with long-lasting ramifications, and I want to help in the process in any way that I can.

Sixty-four years ago I was adopted. Twenty-eight years ago I adopted my son. I have what you might call insider’s knowledge about the institution of adoption, so I feel what I have to say carries some weight. If what I have to say helps you in any way then I will be satisfied.

Adopting a child is a life-long commitment, and it should be approached as one of the most important decisions you will ever make. There are no mulligans in adoption like there are in golf. There are no do-overs, no oops, and no taking back the decision. When an adoption occurs it occurs till death do us part. The psychological, emotional and physical well-being of a child is in your hands, and you, the parent, will be the most influential teacher of that child. Adoption carries with it the heaviest of responsibilities, for you literally hold the life and welfare of another human being in your hands.

Are you ready for that commitment?

I am one of the lucky ones. I was adopted by parents who understood the responsibility that they were undertaking, and they provided a loving atmosphere in which I grew strong and happy. My son would say the same thing.

However, there are also countless horror stories of parents who adopted when they shouldn’t have, and the results were predictable and painful to see. I have known children who were adopted and lived their childhood in a damaging environment. I do not want that to happen to you or the child you adopt, and so I write this article.

A satisfied adopted child
A satisfied adopted child | Source

There Is Really Only One Reason Why You Would Adopt

At the risk of over-simplification, I submit to you that there is only one reason to adopt. If you read other articles you will see other reasons listed. They will include:

· Unable to physically have another child

· Unable to find a suitable partner

· Medical history of the parents

· A desire to save a life

All are understandable and all have a degree of validity, but I would say to you the only reason for adopting is because you want to share your love with another human being. Parenting is all about unconditional love, whether you are the biological parents or adopted parents. Everything else is window dressing in this discussion. If you have so much love inside of you that you want to share it for a lifetime with a child then I say you are a good candidate for adoption.

My loving adopted family
My loving adopted family

There Are Many Reasons for Not Adopting

I knew a couple once who adopted a child in an attempt to save their marriage. The results were, as you might expect, disastrous. The marriage ended and then there was a long court battle for custody of the child. Welcome to the first reason for not adopting! Children do not save marriages; couples do that, and a child has no business being in the middle of that struggle. I feel fairly safe in saying that a marriage that is falling apart is doing so because of some serious issues between husband and wife, issues that the child had nothing to do with. Do not consider adopting if your marriage is hanging by a thread. It will not work.

I also knew a couple who adopted because they could not have children and they wanted to make sure that their lineage continued. I would say to them and to any of you that love is the reason for adopting a child and not a desperate attempt to keep your family name alive.

How about adoptions for humanitarian reasons? You know, those darling kids we see online from war-damaged nations who are homeless and without parents. Is there anything wrong with adopting them? Although I am a huge advocate for humanitarian actions, I still refer you to the number one reason for adopting. If you are adopting out of love then I say go for it. If you are adopting simply because the child looks pitiful, then I think you really need to think long and hard about your motives. You are signing on for a lifetime of care and support; that is a huge commitment based only on the desire to help someone.

I could go on and on but we keep coming back to the main point of this article: Adoptions should only happen where love is the driving force.

Let's chat about adoption

My son, another satisfied adoptee
My son, another satisfied adoptee | Source

There Will Be Problems

Oh my goodness yes, there will be problems. Please be aware that not all adoptions have a happy ending. If you adopt an older child you are adopting the emotional scars that child may have.

Do you choose to have an open or closed adoption? What happens if the birth parents want to find their child….your child…sixteen years after the adoption?

What happens when your adopted child expresses an interest in finding their birth parents?

How do you tell your child that they are adopted? My parents handled it beautifully; they handled it so well that I don’t even remember the talk that they had with me. It seems I have always known that I was adopted, and I opted to tell my son as early as possible. You need to be prepared for this talk and it needs to be handled gently and honestly.

Are you prepared to accept this child as if you gave birth to them? Is your family willing to embrace the adopted child? You cannot adopt a child and then treat them any differently from anyone else in the immediate or extended family. It is not fair to the child and it is not fair to the rest of the family.

Legal issues may arise as well as financial issues. You need to do your diligent homework on all of this and make sure you have all bases covered.

Thoughts on open adoptions

Am I Trying to Scare You Off?

No, not by any means! My intent is to make sure that everything is considered before adoption occurs. I obviously am a huge fan of adoption. If I had my way every child in the world who needs a parent would be adopted, but they would only be adopted by loving parents who enter the transaction with eyes wide open.

The stakes are too high for everyone. Adoption is a sacred contract, one that gives the most beautiful of gifts to another…the gift of love! If that is not your intent then please, do not adopt a child.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


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