An Adoption Consultant’s Discussion Guide For Families

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 2.32.32 PM.png

Written by Betsy Parton in partnership with Adopt Together to raise awareness for World Adoption Day.

static1.squarespace-1.png

The journey to adoption can be long - much longer than 10 months of pregnancy and delivery. Aside from the financial planning for adoption, there are other significant considerations that help a family navigate adoption and transition once they are united with a child.  We spoke to Chloe Briggs, an adoption consultant with a loving and gentle approach as the “resident expert” at AdoptTogether, helping to facilitate and support hundreds of families through the process.

Chloe worked for a handful of years on the adoption agency side.  Like so many of us, after having her first child she quit her job to re-evaluate her work/motherhood balance but remained passionate about helping families and children unite.  So, she reached out to AT who eagerly hired her to consult with their families trying to navigate the often intimidating adoption process.  With a two year old and another on the way, Chloe and her husband also hope to adopt someday soon.

Don’t feel guilty for what you acknowledge as a no. At the end of the day, you want to be the best family for the child.  You have to acknowledge your limitations.  Look at your life now and what you can do now.
— Chloe Briggs

Preparing for Adoption

After the first question which is most often, “Where do I start?”, the second that quickly follows in Chloe’s experience is, "Which type of adoption is right for my family"?  The pool of options once you start exploring can feel daunting and nuanced.  

Determining the right fit for your family begins with having open and honest conversations with your partner.  Chloe says the key to productive dialogue is starting with the simple questions and allow yourself to dream a little - like “have you always wanted a little girl?”  She suggests you make your way to the more complicated questions like “do you and your partner want a baby that looks like your family” or “can you both accommodate and care for a child with special needs?”  Chloe offers this powerful advice to parents early in the process, “Don’t feel guilty for what you acknowledge as a no.  At the end of the day, you want to be the best family for the child.  You have to acknowledge your limitations.  Look at your life now and what you can do now.”

Conversations should include:  

Siblings  Do you have children in your home?  If so, what are their ages?  Are you hoping to keep the current birth order?  How many bedrooms does your home have?

Your Home  Would you be willing to move to a bigger home if you were matched with a sibling group?  Is your home handicap accessible if your child were to need a wheelchair or other device?

Current Finances  Are you equipped to incur costs associated with surgeries/therapies if your child were to need them?  

Culture & Differences  How much do you know about the country you are interested in adopting from?  What are some ideas you have about keeping that child's birth culture alive for them as they grow up in the US?

The Biological Parents  What do you know about birth parents?  Preconceptions?  Misconceptions?  How comfortable are you with having an open adoption?

My biggest wish for adoptive mothers is to see them give themselves grace. The transformation going on in their heart is just as big as the physicality of delivery, and they deserve as much balance and support.
— Chloe Briggs

Bringing Your Child Home

Becoming a mother is a powerful thing - you are reborn in a way.  The same thing happens to adoptive mothers.  In speaking to Chloe, we took away her sage reminders for adoptive mothers:

Expect Exhaustion  It’s equally taxing on adoptive mothers physically and emotionally.  The lack of sleep, mental load and physical needs of caring for a child, are just as great.

Fear  It’s normal to have fear about loving a child you weren’t able to physically birth.  It’s a process and different for everyone.  

Be Gentle  Chloe shares her biggest wish for adoptive mothers is “to see them give themselves grace, the transformation going on in their heart is just as big as the physicality of delivery, and they deserve as much balance and support.”

To read more from Chloe and other adoption experts, we recommend this, this and this post written on managing the process and the transitions.  

 

Featured Image by @attachandwander via @AdoptTogether