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Today is our Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! I’m blogging over at Team Cartwright about preparing your children in a time of crisis. Natasha, from Let’s Be Brave, is guest posting here. I asked her to write on the topic of adoption. She’s guest posted here before and wrote an adoption related post which I LOVED. I know in this process it’s hard to fully learn everything and even tougher to try to help others know and understand the process. Natasha’s post today should help many people who may have questions regarding certain aspects of the adoption process!
There are so many hot topic issues when it comes to adoption. And let me tell you, EVERYONE AND THEIR MOM has an opinion on them, whether they’ve personally been involved in adoption or not. And honestly, I’m of the opinion that there’s no right way to do this adoption thing. Adoption begins with brokenness, and while adoption is redemption – a sweet, beautiful way to redeem what has been lost and broken – it isn’t the way it was meant to be, so there’s issues that arise that there just isn’t an ideal solution for or a perfect answer to.
And to clarify, before any adoptive mamas go all “this child was MEANT TO BE in my family” on me – I get that. What I mean by “meant to be” is that in an ideal, perfect world, birth mamas wouldn’t have to give up their babies for any reason at all, which I think we can all agree would be the best case scenario – mamas keeping their babies.
So with that said, I’d like to offer my perspective behind three of these hot topic adoption issues. I know my perspective and opinion is not everyone’s, and that’s ok. These decisions are so personal, and how you handle these issues depends on so many different things. We all have to make the best decisions for our families, and that will look different for each of us.
open adoption vs. closed adoption
When you adopt a child, you can either have an open adoption (contact with birth parents) or a closed adoption (no contact with birth parents). There are several factors adoptive families consider when choosing which is right for them. You need to consider safety (yours and the child’s), how it will affect the child emotionally, whether the parent is mentally stable, whether the parent is actively using drugs, how the parent will respond to your rules and boundaries, the desire your child has or might have in the future to know their birth family, etc. These things are important to consider, and how much weight you give to each factor will differ depending on what you think is right for your family and your child.
After you decide if you want to have an open or closed adoption, you have to decide what kind of contact you want to have. You can do cards/pictures/letters, phone contact, FaceTime, or face-to-face contact. Again, you have to consider all of the factors mentioned above to determine what kind of contact is appropriate.
It’s such a personal decision and how you handle it is so specific to your child’s situation. What might be right for your family might be totally wrong for another family. And even within your family, if you adopt two unrelated children, what’s right for one child might be totally wrong for the other child. It really depends on so many things, and you just have to make the best decision you can.
Personally, we don’t have any legal obligation to maintain contact with our kids’ birth parents, but they really want to keep in contact with their birth mom, and we want that for them, so we’ve chosen open adoption. As long as she is doing well and it’s not a detriment for them to have contact with her, we’re willing to facilitate phone contact and face-to-face contact between them. We may be her only connection to Jesus, and we want to take every opportunity that we have to point her to Him. We also want to promote healing and reconciliation where division and bitterness could so easily grow.
foster care, domestic infant, or international adoption
There are lots of things to consider when choosing which adoption path to pursue. Foster care is less expensive than domestic or international adoption, however, it can be riskier in a lot of ways. It’s not an easy adoption path, for so many reasons that it could be it’s own blog post. We went the foster care route simply because there is such a high need, and we had no idea we would later struggle with infertility.
With domestic infant adoption and international adoption, you wait to get matched with a child and then, as long as that adoption doesn’t fall through for some reason, you adopt that child. If you want an infant, domestic adoption might be right for you. You also have to consider the cost of private adoption, which is significantly higher than an adoption through foster care.
There is so much to be said about this choice – the kind of adoption you want to pursue – that I can’t even begin to do it justice in this short segment of a blog post. But just know there are options, and there is a lot to consider when deciding which avenue to pursue!
Some people need help to pay for an adoption and others don’t. It’s my personal opinion that either way, contributing financially to a family’s adoption is a fantastic way to support adoption. As believers we’re all called to take care of orphans, so if you don’t feel called to adopt a child, then you need to be taking care of orphans in another way. Financially supporting someone else’s adoption is an easy, helpful way to do that. No one who feels called to adopt should be hindered by the fact that adoption is expensive. I don’t believe a family who feels called to adopt should have to scrimp and save every single penny they have to make it happen. That’s something that we, the church, can help with, and if we can, we should, even if a family doesn’t necessarily “need” the money. Private adoptions are expensive, and few people have that much money at their disposal without saving and setting aside money specifically for adoption.
Obviously an adopted child’s last name gets changed. But what about their first and middle names? You have to decide whether or not you’re going to change one or both of those names. You have to consider the child’s age, whether to change it for safety reasons, if the child wants his/her name changed, if all your other kids have family names or a name that goes with a theme (like names all start with a certain letter), whether to have the birth family involved in the new names, etc.
When we adopted, we changed our kids’ first, middle, and of course, last names. The oldest two were 5 and 7 when we adopted them so we discussed their name change with them. We were considering just changing their first names and keeping the middle names their birth parents gave them, but they asked for their middle names to be changed as well. The littlest was only 2 when we adopted him, and we really didn’t like his first or middle name, so we were planning on changing both his first and middle name anyways. So we went ahead and completely changed all of their names.
These are all hot adoption topics and big decisions that an adoptive family has to make. I know I’ve already said it many times before, but really it’s so true – all of these decisions are so personal and depend so much on the specific situation. Each family has to use the information that they have and make a wise and loving choice for their family and kids.
Natasha is a work-at-home lawyer and mama to 4 kids acquired through adoption and IVF – Laurel (7), Bennett (5), Christopher (2), and Everly (6 months). She blogs at Let’s Be Brave.