5 Things To Wrestle With Before Considering Adoption

Happy family built through domestic adoption


Choosing to adopt a baby is a huge decision and one that should not be taken lightly. Adoption professionals may prepare you with resources and training before and during the adoption process, but you may never feel fully ready. Every adoption story is different, and no matter how prepared you feel, you will always have much to learn and should approach your adoption journey with that mindset. 

Adoption is and always will be a calling that is not for everyone. Here are five questions hopeful parents should consider before deciding to pursue adoption:

  1. Why do I want to adopt? Please do not adopt simply because you feel bad for all the children in orphanages and in the foster care system, you want to be a “good person,” or you have the money and feel like it is a good way to give back. Adoption is not charity work and choosing to adopt is not a reflection of your character. As an adoptee, it feels incredibly insensitive to adoptees when they hear that someone wants to adopt simply because they feel sorry for children that are waiting for families and they want to help solve that problem. Do not equate adoptees to a problem that needs to be solved.  
  2. What trauma or attachment style do I have? All adoption stories come with their own layers and depth of trauma. It is important to understand that adoptees will experience and express trauma differently. One of the common manifestations of trauma is attachment struggles in adoptees, specifically avoidant or anxious attachment styles.

As a parent, you need to understand and acknowledge any trauma you may have and your own attachment style, so you do not project this on your adopted child who will also come with their own trauma and attachment struggles. Research has shown trauma is transgenerational, meaning it is transmitted from generation to generation if it is not dealt with. Additionally, research shows that parents with secure attachment can help their adoptee develop secure attachment.  Counseling is incredibly beneficial for adoptive parents and families, and adoptees in overcoming these challenges. 

We encourage parents to be introspective and work through any trauma and attachment related struggles in counseling before adopting. 

  1. What is my community and the environment around me like? For parents choosing to adopt transracially this is critical. If your community, whether it is the church you attend, your physical neighborhood, or the school district you plan to send your child to, is homogeneous, that might not be a good fit for your transracial adoptee. 

Consider the following questions:

  • Are you willing to move to a different neighborhood with a more diverse school district? 
  • Are you willing to expand your circle to invite people of color and other ethnic backgrounds in? 
  • Are you willing to cut out communities and spaces that may not be emotionally “safe” or inclusive for your adopted child?
  1. Can I choose to see and advocate for color if I adopt transracially? Everyone sees color, but transracial adoptees always have to acknowledge this reality while others may not. 

Adopting transracially requires parents to change the way they see the world. Parents must recognize and understand the magnitude of color and the impact this has on minorities, specifically transracial adoptees. This is a hard skill to learn for some. This goes hand in hand with thinking about your community and environment before adopting. Parents have to be able to view the world through a lens that acknowledges the implications of color. Transracial adoptees are always aware of the environments and communities in which they are a minority and, furthermore, they will often be the minority in your family. 

Transracial adoptees need parents that see and celebrate color but also acknowledge the challenges that it may bring to them. They will also need you to advocate for them, especially in the early years when they may not be able to advocate for themselves. 

  1. Am I willing to ask for help even if I do not feel like I need it? As an adoptive parent, you will never be an expert on adoption. For parents that wish to adopt, you need to be willing to embrace humility and learn. Adoptees, counselors, other families that have adopted, and people of color are great resources for adoptive parents. Be open and willing to learn from them and lean into the communities around you that want to walk with your family and support you. 

Being an adoptive parent requires a commitment to always be willing to learn and grow. Ultimately, if you are a parent interested in adoption, get curious, ask questions, and be reflective on your motives and capacity before starting the process. 

Written by: Ramya Gruneisen

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Angel Adoption, Inc. provides marketing and advertising services that assist biological parents considering adoption and prospective adoptive parents to connect with each other, and provides support and referral services throughout the process. Angel Adoption, Inc. is an independent contractor and provides services under the supervision of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, License #012998, One Oakbrook Terrace, #501, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181; 708-771-7180.