If you’re considering adoption in Arkansas, the decision to adopt a child may be influenced by a variety of factors such as infertility, religion or an awareness of a child in need. Highly charged emotions are a part of the decision to adopt regardless of the reason it is being pursued. One of the first steps we recommend before pursuing an adoption is to think through some relevant questions.
Self-reflection and an evaluation of expectations are an important step in a successful adoption story. Research shows that unmet or unrealistic expectations play an important role when adoptions fail. Read through the following questions and reflect on your feelings about them.
- How will a new child fit into your life and relationship?
- How will a new child affect family dynamics—especially if your family already has children?
- What changes are you willing to make to ease the child’s transition?
- How do you feel about open adoption—contact with the child’s birth family?
- How do you feel about welcoming a child from foster care or an institution who may have experienced abuse or neglect?
- How have you addressed your own past trauma or losses? Have you considered how adopting a child with a similar history might affect you emotionally?
- Is there anything in a child’s history that you feel you would not be equipped to cope with, emotionally or financially (e.g., past trauma, sexual abuse, fragile medical condition)?
- Are there any behaviors that a child could manifest that would make it too hard to maintain him or her in your family?
- In cases of transracial or transcultural adoption, how do you feel about accommodating, helping, and promoting your child’s positive cultural and racial identity?
- How will you inform family members and friends, and how will you deal with questions from family, friends, and strangers about adoption?
- How will you answer your child’s questions about adoption, his or her background and history, birth family, and your reasons for adopting?
- What are your dreams, fantasies, and expectations for your child and family’s future? How do you typically respond when reality does not match your expectations?
- How willing are you to learn new parenting strategies that work better for children who have experienced loss and trauma?
- How willing and able are you to seek help for yourself or your child when necessary?
Questions taken with permission from Child Welfare Information Gateway.
For questions about the adoption process in Arkansas, contact Justin Heimer.