This guest post is by Tim Elder, an adoptive father and founder of InfantAdoptionGuide.com.
As a dad of three kiddos that my wife and I adopted as newborns over a 10-year span, I can safely say it has been a roller coaster ride. This is such a good analogy because if you remember that first (or last) time you rode on a roller coaster, you probably felt:
Excited about a ride that you’ve heard is thrilling and fun and scary.
Anxious as you got in line. The line of people waiting to ride is long but that just means you know the ride is amazing.
Fear as you get closer to the front of the line and questions bounce around in your head. Is this ride going to scare you to death? How long is this ride? Am I safe? Will I get sick?
Scared exhilaration as it is your turn to get on and the ride begins.
Thrill, Terror, Fun, and Sickness – this happens all in a matter of seconds as you ride and then it ends.
Relief and joy. As your feet hit the pavement, your heart is still beating fast but you feel safe and feel joy as you think about what you just experienced. You may even want to ride again.
All of these feelings are what I’ve experienced as we went through our three infant adoptions. While it may be difficult to truly understand these feelings until you experience them yourself on the adoption journey, there are lessons I can share that may help.
Here are the five lessons I’ve learned through three adoptions:
1. No matter how scared you are – or unsure you are – go for it.
My wife and I were scared when we first considered adopting. Scared of open adoption. Scared of how much money it cost. Scared of not getting chosen by an expectant mom. Scared of how our family and friends would handle it. We learned that we were not alone. Thousands adopt every year.
There is never a “perfect” time to adopt. If you want to become parents through adoption – go for it and don’t let anything hold you back. There are a TON of resources available to help you learn about funding your adoption, open adoption, matching with an expectant mom and more. You can do this.
2. Open Adoption is a really good thing.
Before we adopted for the first time, we were scared about open adoption. It was a foreign concept to us. Thankfully, we had a great adoption counselor that gracefully walked us through what openness is and how good it was for the child, the birthmom and for us.
We learned that open adoption is a relationship. It is bringing our child’s birthmom into our family. It is sharing in some way what her child’s life is like in our family. Just like any relationship, it takes effort. It takes communication.
We have open adoptions with all three of our kids’ birth families. All three are different. Some have more communication, some less. The important thing to remember is that your child’s birthmom will want to know that she made the right choice in choosing you to be the parents for her baby.
She will want to know her baby is safe, well-cared for, and loved. Your job is to be “open” to letting her know. If you’re like us, you may be surprised at how much you cherish the relationship with your child’s birth family.
3. Get support.
During our first adoption, we found an amazing adoption support group on Facebook. These folks were our lifeline. We were all in the same boat. We shared our struggles, our doubts, our fears, our wins, our joy, our hope. I cannot emphasize enough that having some type of support on your journey is SUPER important. You’re gonna need it and you will be so thankful you have it.
If you need support and don’t know where to get it, I invite you to join my Facebook support group, For People Wanting To Adopt. Like the group name suggests, it is only for people who are wanting to adopt. It is a safe place to hang out, ask questions, learn from each other, and support each other every day.
4. Make a great profile and share it well.
Everyone must create an adoption profile and most people do OK making a profile. Should you create a profile that is just OK? NO. You want a profile that stands out and makes that connection with an expectant mom. I’ve learned that you have to work hard on creating a great profile. We even created an adoption profile video for each of our adoptions – and it paid off because our kids’ birthparents LOVED the videos!
The most important thing about your profile is to show the expectant mom what life will be like for her child in your family. You do this through great action photos, through describing your life in the most sincere, authentic way.
This includes the things that may seem to you as “boring, simple, and ordinary”, but an expectant mom does not see it this way. You never know what will make that connection. So show her what your life is like.
One more thing – creating a great profile is a MUST, but it is all for nothing if you don’t SHARE it well. Put it everywhere. Put your profile online (like here on America Adopts!), make PDFs to email, make hard copies to mail. Invest in creating and sharing a great profile. It will pay off.
5. Don’t give up…EVER.
This is a no-brainer, yet I see people lose hope and give up. Do not do this. If you don’t give up, you WILL adopt. The right expectant mom is out there. She wants to find you. You will find each other. It may take more time that you want it to but don’t give up. Keep sharing your profile, change it up, make a profile video, keep posting it online. Just don’t EVER give up.
Tim Elder is a dad of three through infant adoption and founder of the InfantAdoptionGuide.com blog and podcast where he shares his personal experience with adoption alongside the experience of other adoptive families, experts, authors, adoption agencies, attorneys and more. His mission is to bring people who want to adopt a baby into a community so we can support each other, learn from each other to be able to adopt faster, cheaper, and with less stress by delivering hope, inspiration, and resources so that we can finally realize our dream of building a family through infant adoption.
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