10 Tips to Help You Begin Your Christian Adoption Journey
There are different ways to start a family, and you’re likely reading this because you’ve decided to pursue the path of adoption.
As you take your first steps toward adopting, it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure. You may wonder, where do I start? Here are 10 tips to get you started on growing your Christian family through adoption.
1. Do your research.
Christian adoption is an involved process, and there is a lot to learn:
- The steps in the adoption process
- The laws in your state
- The experiences of adoptees and birth parents
- Adoptive parenting
Read books and articles on adoption, attend webinars, and talk with adoptive families, adoptees, and birth parents. Utilize your adoption professional as much as possible – there’s no such thing as too many questions!
2. Prepare spiritually.
Your faith in God will carry you through the wait and the complexities that arise during the adoption process. Study what the Bible has to say about adoption. God intended to adopt us all as His sons and daughters. Reflect on the reasons you chose to answer God’s call to adopt and use it to give you strength on your road to adoption.
3. Be realistic.
You are not the only one on your adoption journey. Birth parents are also dealing with complicated decisions and feelings. Circumstances that have nothing to do with you could change and create delays. This is an emotional process, so get your mind and your heart prepared for the wait.
Most families with Lifetime Christian Adoption match within 6 to 18 months. But as with any matter of the heart, there’s no guaranteeing exactly how your experience will go.
4. Stay on top of the paperwork.
One aspect of your adoption process that you can control is completing your paperwork. You can avoid delays by being thorough and efficient with your adoption application, adoption home study, adoptive family profile, and any documentation you are asked to provide.
5. Create a finance plan.
Adoption is expensive, but you can manage the costs if you have a plan. Be realistic about the state of your finances and how you can start saving money to cover the fees throughout the adoption process. You can also research Christian adoption loans and grants to help fund your adoption.
6. Find a diverse long-term support system.
There is no single story of adoption. You will learn more and feel more prepared when you hear from diverse voices representing different facets of the adoption process.
Ask your adoption coordinator to connect you with legal, emotional, and peer support. You may also have community and faith-based organizations that can provide you with local resources before, during, and after the adoption is complete. Adoption does not end when a child is placed with your family. You will still benefit from continued support when the next leg of your journey begins.
7. Get yourself “out there.”
The sooner your adoption profile goes live, the sooner prospective birth mothers can find you. Write a sincere “Dear Birth Mother” letter, and complete your profile with pictures and videos that showcase what your family has to offer a child.
8. Be honest and genuine.
Nobody is expecting perfection, so be honest about who your Christian family really is and what you have to offer a child. Do this in your profile and when you meet prospective birth mothers. It might take some time, but the perfect match is out there waiting to find you. Don’t make any promises you aren’t sure you will be able to keep. It’s always better to be honest than to commit to something you won’t be able to follow through with.
God’s plans don’t always work according to our timelines, and it might be tempting to shift your boundaries in order to speed up the process. Don’t compromise on what is important to you just because the process is taking longer than you had hoped. As hard as it is, be patient and trust that God will bring you to the child who is meant to become a part of your Christian family.
9. Follow through on your promises.
Be honest with the birth parents throughout your adoption journey so that you can fulfill your promises. By choosing open Christian adoption, you commit to a future relationship with the birth parents. The amount of contact in that relationship depends on the terms you negotiate, so make sure you follow through with whatever you decide.
Keeping your promises not only shows respect and love for the birth parents, but it also supports your child’s developing identity. Your child will benefit when you have a positive relationship with the birth parents.
10. Remember that adoption is beautiful, but also bittersweet.
For birth parents, adoption is a sacrifice made from love. For Christian adoptive parents, adoption is a call to love and care for one of God’s children. However, adoption is only possible through someone else’s loss. There will be mixed emotions for you and for the birth parents. Be gentle with yourself, and always be loving and considerate with the people who made you parents.