Adoption: YET MORE tips for the curious…

boy needs a family 3

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Stacey_Newman

Wow – what started as a quick list has become 3 not-so-quick blog posts!

After the first and second posts on this subject, I had a growing number of responses via LinkedIn, offering more and more advice – some of it really good. So I thought that I would continue to share these here.

I haven’t quoted the commenters verbatim, or credited them, as I haven’t had their permission to do so (though I did ask).

Yet even more good advice for those considering adoption…

  • Prepare as much in advance as you can– whilst there is often quite a wait between starting your enquiries and actually receiving a child into your home, get ready!   All of a sudden, it’ll happen.  When it does you want to have the basics in place. Obviously there’s a limit as to how much you can do before you know for sure how old the child is, or whether it’s a boy or a girl, but you can still do a number of things…
  • Examine your time commitments – this is a balancing act. You want to ensure that you are not suddenly trying to juggle your usual busy life with the responsibilities of child care. When the child arrives, they need to be the priority. And you will need to be well rested. So start looking at the commitments you have and the time constraints this places on you. Think about what thing or things you can cut back on. It’ll then be easier when the time comes.
  • Remember: the birth family will always matter – don’t enter the adoption process thinking that the birth family will somehow fade or be superceded by your care of the child. It won’t. Sooner or later, your child will want to talk about, explore and maybe even try and contact their birth family. This is OK. This is perfectly normal. Just keep it in mind so that you are not shocked or offended when it happens. My son knows that he will have my full support if and when he wants to explore these issues. I have nothing to fear from it. I’m his Dad, after all!
  • Be prepared for the awkward questions – not just the usual ones about sex. Also the ones about why their parent/s put them up for adoption, why you adopted them, etc.  This first happened to me when my son, aged about 7 or 8 at the time, asked me, “Has my birth Mum got any more children?” This came in the middle of a climbing session in the tree house! It was quite out of the blue. We had just adopted his little sister. She had full and half siblings by birth, as well as a new adoptive big brother. He got to thinking about his own background and then asked the obvious question. Fortunately, I had prepared for it – not that I had any concrete answers, but I had long since decided to be honest with my kids. If we expect the unexpected, we’re better placed to give satisfactory answers…
  • “Keep it (adoption) beautiful…” – This was one of the comments I received on LinkedIn after the previous posts on this subject. The essence of it is, adoption really is amazing. Yes, it can be complicated. It can be trying at times, too. But it really is something unique and special. My view is that if you stay inspired by it, your adoptive and birth children will too. I learned the value of this when my lovely boy came home from school one day – aged around 9 – to say that he’d had his class presentation today and had had to speak in front of the other kids for a short time on a subject of his choice. We asked him what he’d spoken on. He said, “Being adopted.” Slightly worried, we asked him how it had gone. He replied, in his usually understated way, “OK.” Adding, “Most of my friends said they wished they’d been adopted, too!” How cool is that!

Final thoughts…

These are the accumulated thoughts from others with experience of adoption, as well as from my own experience. I hope that they have been helpful!

I’d like to thank everyone on LinkedIn and from elsewhere who commented on my first post on this subject. These comments and excellent advice provided the material for this post and the previous one – THANK YOU!

What do you think?

  • If you had to give one tip to someone considering adoption, what would your advice be?
  • If you’re thinking about adopting, and could ask the experts one burning question, what would it be?

Please contribute to this by adding your own thoughts and experiences. You can  leave a comment by scrolling down, or just click here.

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© Jonny Matthew 2013

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