The year we received our license was all about preparation. But, for what? We knew that we’d be welcoming new children into our home. We didn’t know by which path. There are many different avenues to explore on the foster care-adoption continuum. Asking yourself a few key questions will get you started on the right path.
What is my end game?
It’s essential to know what you want to accomplish when you reach the end of your journey. For most of us, our desire is to start or expand our families. Some may want to help children in need. All of these are admirable. Knowing what you are ultimately called to do will help determine the next steps.
What is my motivation?
It became clear to us after asking some of these questions that we were to foster. Others may want to adopt an orphan. Some may want to come alongside families caring for the orphans in their community. Determining what motivates you will help you see whether foster care or adoption is right for you.
What can my family handle?
You must consider the abilities of your immediate family to walk the journey together. A young couple with no children has more flexibility, let’s say, than a couple with several biological (or previously adopted) children. The needs of all the members of the house have to be considered. Finances are also a key factor. Sadly, there is no “cheap” option though there are some routes more financially intensive than others. What you know you can handle, that you can do.. and be successful.
How long do I want the journey to last?
Some families want a speedy adoption. Others want to foster, then one day adopt. Several people I know have adopted internationally, which requires an intense investment of time and travel. As you think through your first steps, make sure you know how long you’re willing to invest before you accomplish your goal.
Have I done my research?
For most people, the answer is no. They perhaps think they’ll adopt internationally because they don’t want to deal with trauma issues. Or, their neighbors are amazing foster parents and it doesn’t look that hard. Make sure you research the different variations of foster care and adoption to know what’s required of you before selecting the best path.
Asking foundational questions sets you up for success. There are likely other questions you should ask before you start. Tell me some that should be asked in the comments.