Adoptive parents spending happy moments with their baby in the kitchenAll of us have goals, whether we know it or not. Common goals might be to save for the future, or to travel, buy a home or a new car, or purchase items we need and want to make our lives more enjoyable.
As an adoptive mother and through years of working with waiting adoptive parents, I know that the majority of us want to start a family. As Christians, having a family to share our faith with is the most important goal of all. “Wherever two or more of you are gathered in His name…there is love.”
-Matthew 18:20 
An important distinction of people who succeed at adoption is that they have faith in their desires, are very intentional in their steps, and remain focused on their goals. Many prospective adoptive parents look and dream about adopting but need to do more to move past that point. While it is wise to do research before adopting, many people don’t move any further to complete what they have started. Fear is often the culprit. 

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid…
for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

-Deuteronomy 31:6

Successful adoptive parents know that timing, planning, and dedication to completing their adoption goal can make it much easier and smoother. As with any goal, basic steps must be taken to attain the desired end result… becoming a parent! Those who have gone before you know it takes time, patience, and following a concise plan to realize adoption success. 
Here are 10 important tips for setting adoption goals you can meet: 

1. Adoption goals are specific

To reach your goal of adoption, your brain must know exactly, and precisely, what you are trying to accomplish. Never state your goal with vague terms like “someday I would like to adopt,” “in the future,” or “maybe we will adopt.”
Be specific! If you want to adopt a newborn within two years, specify the exact details. Be exact if you want to find an adoption professional this month and start the process. Your brain and God can help you accomplish almost anything if you know your goal. 

2. Adoption goals are simple and focused

Many people describe their adoption goals in ideals that are complex and may conflict with each other, i.e., we want a child from our surrounding area that looks like us and is born in the summer when school is out and of a birth mother with no expenses and…The list goes on and on. Any ONE of those things is a great goal, but the combination becomes overwhelming and difficult, and our minds can get confused.
If you want to adopt a healthy infant, just say so! If you want to keep birth mother expenses down to under $1,000, say so! Keep your goals simple, clear, and focused. 

3. Adoption goals are realistic

You will need an adoption plan, a path, and help to get there to reach your goal. Your goals must make sense. When you explain them to friends and family, your goals should create excitement and draw support and encouragement.
Your adoption goals should be out of reach, not out of sight. You want to stretch, not strain after impossible dreams. Set realistic goals daily or weekly that you can and will achieve if you stick with them and have a good plan! More families fall short of this one secret: don’t give up and don’t slack off in what you need to do to reach your goal. 

4. Adoption goals must be worth achieving

No one can gather the enthusiasm, hard work, and courage to go forth and adopt if they don’t want to adopt 100%. A successful adoption goal is one you really, REALLY want! It’s something that will change your life, enhance your family, and fulfill you. It gets your energy flowing, gets you up in the morning, and keeps you going all day long because it is important!
Set adoption goals that you feel are worth achieving! If your spouse isn’t ready to adopt, your chances of success go down. It isn’t fair to bring a child into a family that is not entirely devoted to adoption and raising this child. 

5. Adoption goals that have benefits and are purposeful

Successful adoptive parents know that the best goals accomplish many great benefits at once. Adopting will almost certainly:

  • Be the start of completing your family
  • Enhance your life forever
  • Provide an opportunity to share the love and faith you have with a child
  • Add a new member to your family
  • Build patience
  • Cause you to view parenting in a new light

Take the time to describe how adoption will impact the many areas of your life. You’ll have more reasons to move forward toward your goal and more excitement when you do! 

6. Your adoption goals must be reachable and measurable

A goal without a measurable outcome is just a daydream. If you read all the adoption books, call adoption professionals every day for a year for information, or attend weekly support meetings religiously but don’t apply some of what you have learned, you will not get anywhere in your adoption goal.
There’s an old saying that goes, “What gets measured, gets done.” Define your goals in terms of steps, expenses, and time you’re willing to dedicate to the process. Then, measure your progress along the way. What have you done, and what do you still need to do? 

7. Adoption goals equal a tangible adoption

You need to be able to imagine seeing, hearing, smelling, and holding your child. Work on the steps you know are realistic and that you can clearly visualize doing. Our minds have a hard time grasping “someday we will adopt a child,” but it can visualize a healthy child under 12 months old!
Define your goals in terms that excite the senses, and then go for it with all your heart, sharing your heart’s desire with the Lord in prayer. 

8. Adoption goals are written down

Successful adoptive parents know precisely what they want because they’ve written it down. They often write a short description of their goals every morning as a personal reminder of their priorities and objectives.
They do what they must do daily to achieve this goal, such as taping clips for their adoption video, filling out their home study paperwork, or making doctor’s appointments for physicals. Each day, they review what they still need to do on their list still. Writing down your goals will greatly increase your chances of doing what is necessary to move closer to your successful adoption. Write it down!
Then, keep your notes where you can see and read them daily, and you will take a step closer to your adoption goal. Consider wearing a reminder, like an adoption prayer bracelet, to keep your goals near you and pray for them. 

9. Adoption goals are shared

You are far more likely to stick to your adoption plan and reach your goal if you know your friends, family, and other adoptive parents support you and your plan to adopt. Being part of a group of people with the same goal increases our determination, our stamina, and our courage to keep going.
Caution: Never share your goals with anyone who may ridicule, belittle, or discourage you from adopting! The world is full of doubters, and you have no time for them. Find a support group, a group of successful adoptive parents, and others who have succeeded who will encourage you every step of the way. Successful adoptive parents count on and confide with others with the same goal! Too often, family members are unfamiliar with the way adoptions are conducted today and have only been educated by the media to fear adoption. The truth is that most adoptions go through without incident or problems every single day. 

10. Adoption goals should match your values

One of the biggest reasons couples fail to achieve their adoption goals is conflict between what is valuable to them and what is realistic. They may view adoption as rescuing a child. Or, they may see a child not of their body to be not as valuable as a biological child.
When your values and goals agree, there will be no stopping you! Clarify your values first, then set simple, specific, measurable, tangible, and written goals consistent with your values. You will achieve adoption success when you take these steps! Don’t give up, and remember, there is a child for you! 
You can find more valuable tips like these in my book on Christian adoption, Called to Adoption.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on May 26, 2016, and has since been updated. 

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

Read More About Mardie Caldwell