International Adoption: Getting Started
General Questions to Consider
Adoptive parents have found that exploring the following questions has helped them to feel more prepared for the joys and challenges of raising their children. General Adoption Themes
How do I feel about not being genetically related to my child?
How do I see myself talking about adoption with my child? How will I help my child to understand his/her "pre-placement background," when there is little information, abandonment, or an embarrassing history?
Am I prepared to maintain my child's positive identification with his/her birth
Am I open to dealing with birth parent issues, which are just as relevant and important in international adoption, as they are in domestic adoption?
Do I have family and/or close friends of other racial, cultural or ethnic groups? If not how can I develop such relationships?
Am I willing to move to another community, change schools or join appropriate organizations to find adult mentors and peers of my child's race and culture, if necessary?
How do I feel about meeting the specific needs my child will have in developing self-identity and esteem?
How do I imagine supporting my child when he/she experiences racial prejudice and discrimination?
Can I accept the reality that adopting a child of color will mean our family becomes a family of color? Orphanage Issues
Am I willing to learn the details of daily life in the orphanage in order to provide a gradual transition for my child from that routine to a new one in my home?
How comfortable am I with the fact that children living in an orphanage are at risk for developmental delays and emotional issues?
Am I prepared to deal with the coping behaviors my child used to survive in the orphanage?
How will I deal with the adjustments my child will face when he/she enters a family, e.g. learning to accept affection and nurturing, and trusting that there will be enough food?
Am I willing to seek help for my family if adjustment is difficult? Do I attach any stigma to my child receiving specialized educational services? Single Parent Adoption
Do I feel confident about being the sole decision-maker for my child?
Am I ready to ask for help? Emotional? Financial? Physical? Respite? Who among my family and friends would be there for me in a real emergency? To help with an ongoing challenge?
Have I come to terms with my decision to forego or postpone pregnancy and marriage as a way of becoming a parent?
Does work offer me the flexibility I will need to care for a sick child, to attend school events, and to spend as much time at home with my child as I would want to?
How will my current and future relationships be affected by the fact that I am a parent?
Am I able to provide strong role models of the opposite sex for my child? Toddler Adoption
Have I resolved my loss of the experience of parenting an infant?
Am I committed to incorporating my child's past while building a foundation of security and trust
for the future?
How can I help my child overcome previous trauma, bond with his/her new family, and adapt to a new lifestyle?
Am I resilient enough to understand initial rejection, yet simultaneously focus on attaching with my child?
Do I have the necessary time and stamina to parent a toddler who has just arrived from an institution?
Am I realistic enough to deal with the fact that the physical, cognitive, and emotional delays of my child cannot simply be loved away?
© 2003 Sigal Shapira, Director of International Adoptions at Spence Chapin