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Susan Soon-Keum Cox

Susan Soon-Keum Cox

Adoptee and the vice president of public policy and external...

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Ken Mullner

Ken Mullner

An adoptive parent and executive director of the National...

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Adam Pertman

Executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute...

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Top 5 Things to Do

Before you wrap that sweet child in your warm embrace, the lengthy adoption process will present a few roadblocks and cause emotional highs and lows that leave you physically and emotionally tested. Here are the top five things to do in order to succeed during the first 30 days of the adoption process.

1. Speak openly with your partner.

This is a huge decision that requires deep discussion about what you both want from this experience. As you discuss your ideas and expectations, be receptive, honest and nonjudgmental. Talk about everything, including special needs and age issues. Lean on each other for comfort, and make sure you agree on the type of adoption you want to pursue.

2. Ready your reading glasses.

Before doing anything else, prospective parents should familiarize themselves with the types of adoption, language of adoption and law of adoption. It might seem overwhelming at first, but the internet and reference guides can help you make sense of it all.

3. Learn from others' experiences.

The experience of other adoptive parents—both good and bad—can guide you during the decision-making process. Get viewpoints from people who have completed different types of adoptions—from domestic to international and agency to facilitator. Listen to their tips on cutting through bureaucratic red tape and coping with typical stressors.

4. Select an adoption professional.

You can’t do this alone. There are plenty of state-by-state listings of adoption agencies and lawyers, both online and in your local phone book. Meet with a professional, ask questions, gauge his or her ethics and decide if your personalities click. Then determine the cost, time and quality of services you’ll receive from this professional. Call his or her references for a second opinion.

5. Get organized.

You’ll be talking with many people and receiving mounds of information and paperwork. Keep everything in files. If you have telephone conversations, jot down contact names, numbers and what was discussed. Keep a calendar handy to schedule special meetings and conferences. This will take time, but if your have everything at your fingertips, the process will flow more smoothly. Also, keep a journal documenting your feelings, thoughts, frustrations and excitement. It will make a great gift to your child later in life.

Posted: 1/16/08