“Your baby will arrive at 7 tomorrow morning…” and thus, our first day of being parents was about to begin. Of course, the process started much earlier with the adoption application, home study visits, being cleared through immigration and basically being evaluated by what felt like a gazillion people. Although our process was relatively easy to negotiate, it did involve many steps, lots of preparation and extensive research. Decisions have to be made regarding the type of adoption (domestic, international, private, special needs, etc.) and choosing an adoption agency, as well as financing the adoption.
Additionally, preparing and educating yourself, your friends and family about adoption and how best to navigate the transition for yourself and your child is extremely important. Working with an excellent adoption caseworker and speaking with other adoptive parents is invaluable (and we did), but equally as helpful were the many books that we read. Besides, reading gives you something meaningful to do while you are waiting (patience wasn’t my strong suit), and let’s face it – you won’t have much time to read once your child arrives.
“Are You Ready to Adopt? An Adoption Insider’s Look From the Other Side of the Desk” by Dewey L. Crepeau (a fellow Columbian) can be useful in the initial decision-making phase. Both easy to read and informative, Crepeau’s book walks you through the adoption process with an emphasis on domestic infant adoption. “You Can Adopt” by Susan Caughman is full of realistic advice and personal stories regarding all types of adoptions. Still timely, “Yes, You Can Adopt!” by Richard Mintzer has remained a go-to guide for many families and professionals. If you need some assistance in minimizing the financial burden of adoption, try Julie Gumm’s book “You Can Adopt Without Debt.”
International adoption creates more layers to sift through, and “The Complete Book of International Adoption” by Dawn Davenport gives advice on a range of topics, including choosing a country and negotiating the paperwork involved. “Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child” by Patty Cogen provides useful information on how to incorporate your child’s culture into everyday parenting.
Concerns about talking with family and friends regarding your decision to adopt are addressed in “Preparing for Adoption” by Julia Davis and “Cross Cultural Adoption” by Amy Coughlin. Advice on parenting adopted children can be found in “The Everything Guide to Raising Your Adopted Child” by Lynne Corrie and “Inside Transracial Adoption” by Gail Steinberg. Books such as “Parenting the Hurt Child” and “Parenting Adopted Adolescents” by Gregory Keck are particularly helpful if adopting a special needs child. Additionally, Deborah Gray’s work with attachment therapy is outlined in “Attaching through Love, Hugs, and Play.”
Finally, a humorous and personal look at “The Small Stuff, the Big Stuff and the Stuff in Between” from an adoptive mom can be found in “The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting” by Sally Donovan. Many other books for adults and children can be found at the library, as well as a helpful subject guide on adoption with links to local and national adoption agencies and support organizations.