Saturday, June 4, 2011

My totally weird path of adopting a child

Most of us are familiar with adoption, but it is weird. Christa and I decided to adopt last December and started the process in January. February we found out we were also pregnant. Living the experience in parallel has been amazing and very intriguing. Having a biological child as well as waiting to be matched for our adopted child has made us realize major differences in the emotional journeys of each scenario. I want to share one aspect.

When you decide to get pregnant or you get pregnant without deciding, that's is something intimate between husband and wife. It is exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. It is personal and in a way sacred. No one tells you how you should parent or tells you what you are supposed to do. Figuring it all out is part of the experience. Adoption is slightly different. When you decide to adopt, complete strangers assess whether or not you are qualified to parent. They come to your home and search through every room. They sit on your couch and ask you very personal questions about your marriage, your childhood, and probe into your finances, your religion, your education, your personality flaws, and your weaknesses all in an effort to assess whether or not you are "worthy" to be a parent. Once the assessment process is done you wait. Then one day your phone rings and you are informed that you are qualified to parent. Before you allowed to adopt however you must complete hours of training and education in "how to parent your child." For weeks, you receive data, studies, books, counseling, and advice from the agency. Once your training is complete you make a scrapbook. You create a scrapbook of your life that birth mothers will see. Birth mothers use this information when deciding who the parents of their child will be.

I feel like the adoption process is awesome for preparing you to be a parent. I really do. It forces you to assess "why" you want to be a parent and the ins and outs of "how" you are going to parent. It also exposes those uncomfortable differences between husband and wife when it comes to parenting style and technique. The agency forces you to talk about it. They also educate you on the differences between adoption parenting and biological parenting and the social and psychological differences in the children. They show you data on parenting methods, discipline, emotional development, physical development. It sort of like a crash course in Early Childhood Development.

In a perfect world, I think everyone should have to go through the adoption process before having any kids.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Wow. It is interesting how much is required of a parent to adopt. Good insight Andy. I love the picture of adoption. You and Christa are in a cool spot. Best wishes and prayers for you two as God adds to your family.