Spotlight

Spotlight

10 things to consider when going through the adoption process

Posted November 18, 2018 5:22 p.m. EST

According to Children's Home Society of North Carolina, there are not enough families in the agency willing and able to adopt at the level needed in the community. (KatyaShut/Big Stock Photo)

This article was written for our sponsor, Children's Home Society of North Carolina.

The number of children in North Carolina’s foster care system jumped from 5,000 in 2012 to just under 6,000 in 2016. Unfortunately, according to Children's Home Society Family Recruiter Ayesha McCoy, there are not enough families in the agency willing and able to adopt at the level needed in the community.

"There's still a myth – people feel in large part that they have to be the stereotypical ‘nuclear’ family, but that’s not the case these days," McCoy explained. "You don’t have to be wealthy. You don’t even have to own your own home or be part of a married couple, but you do have to be financially stable to support an extra child."

What else do you need to adopt? McCoy recommends starting with the 10 questions below:

1. Are you willing to be flexible? When it comes to adoption timelines, a lot can vary by case, which is why it is important to be flexible.

This is also an important characteristic for those fostering to adopt, as you will have court appointments and visitations, and you will never know when they may pop up.

In either scenario, you need to be OK with not knowing every detail and be willing to adapt along the way.

2. Are you willing to be patient? Timelines for adoption range from six months to three years to finalize the process. You may also get paired with children who may have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect, and you will need to be patient and willing to work with them on behaviors and support them through the learning process.

3. Can you truly support a child who has suffered trauma? Even the act of being removed from their home can be traumatic for a child, not to mention the issues that may have led to that point.

Consider if you are capable of providing more than the physical support. Can you emotionally support someone who has been through those difficult times?

4. Is this a decision your whole family is on board with? When new children come into a home, it affects everyone. If there are behaviors that are unpleasant, everyone in the family has to deal with them.

Make sure that everyone is on board with the decision and that they are there for support throughout.

5. Do you have space in your heart and your home? Space in your home is a factor. Each child needs her own bed, drawer space and closet space.

6. Are you open to not having the child of your dreams? Normally parents cannot choose who their children are, but they still love them unconditionally.

Adoptive children still need to experience that same unconditional love. Families coming to agencies for adoption often come with specifics, but you can’t always get that when adopting.

7. Do you have the time to devote? There will be therapy visits, classes, bonding time and much more involved with adoption.

8. Is birth order something that is important to your family? Consider your eldest child and how important it is for them to keep the birth order.

9. Are you willing to work through the bad? Some days will be good, and some days will be bad, but you need to be able to support your child through all of them.

10. Are you able to provide a stable home environment? To help these children develop resilience, they need structure and stability. A stable home environment is crucial to their development and stability.

"At the end of the day, adoption is not for everyone," McCoy said. "But there are other ways to help, like donating or connecting your network with a placement agency."

This article was written for our sponsor, Children's Home Society of North Carolina.