The Adoption Option
For nearly 20 years, Jim and Julie Nelson of California had been a childless couple longing to share their loving embrace with a child—but just weren’t getting pregnant. The couple is currently in the process of adopting their fourth child since 2003. “These children came to us fragmented and broken; we had the opportunity to help them heal and be whole,” says Julie.
Though their story is inspiring and unique in its own way, some 127,000 children are adopted each year in the United States. Couples and singles alike are opening their homes and adopting children of all ages, races and ability levels.
“Parents considering adoption generally enter the process with excitement and hope, especially if the issue of infertility has brought them to the decision,” says Jayne Schooler, mother of an adopted son and author of The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family.
To ease your journey, it’s important to educate yourself about the methods of adoption, the financial and time restraints you may face and the types of help and support available for parents. Armed with this knowledge, it will be easier to focus on the happy times waiting down the road.
The Emotions of Adopting a Child
Before delving into the search process, be honest about your feelings on raising an adopted child.
“As human beings, each of us has natural limitations and abilities,” adds Julie Jarrell Bailey, who adopted three sons and was the primary co-author of The Adoption Reunion Survival Guide: Preparing Yourself for the Search, Reunion, and Beyond. “There’s absolutely no shame in saying ‘I cannot parent a special needs child’ when you’re considering adoption. That’s not being prejudicial against someone with the disorder. That’s being honest with yourself and your mate.”
In addition to discussion as a couple, you’ll need to talk with your family and friends about your decision to adopt a child. Just like you, those close to you will have questions and concerns about adoption issues, and you’ll need their support and love.