Adoption Preparation

I am in the process of adopting a child and am trying to be as prepared as possible. What issues can I expect to arise?

DARCY KIMMEL: If you’ve clicked on this question, the chances are that you are an adoptive parent, or you are pretty far along into the process.

And you know, maybe this wasn’t your Plan A. Maybe you thought you would have your own natural children—and yet, you have decided you would open your heart and your home to adopted children.

And yet, just like having your own child, there are a whole lot of issues that maybe you didn’t know you were going to have to deal with.

TIM KIMMEL: You know, what’s interesting about this question is that when Darcy and I were married, we were married eight years before we had our first child. Now, that wasn’t by design. We were told we could not conceive, and so were in the adoption process.

And at that time, there weren’t many options for finding a child, and it took a lot longer, so we went through the whole process in getting certified, and we learned a lot about it there, and then she conceived our first one. And then we couldn’t conceive again until we were in the process again, and she conceived the second one.

But along the way, we tried to take careful notes. You know, you have done a wonderful thing for a child. You have picked this child out. We just get whatever shows up when you give birth to them, but you actually chose this child, and on top of that, you want to give this child’s life meaning and purpose.

But it is tough. There are attachment issues . . .

DARCY: Right.

One thing you really have to do is examine your heart, and make sure that now that you have adopted a child that this was God’s plan for you. This was God’s plan for this child. You are not accepting “second-best.”

And when you do that, then you are able to communicate with that child that you are delighted that God chose for them to come into your home.

TIM: I’m convinced that God shuts down some wombs because He has a child for those parents that was incubated in another womb, but was meant for their lap all along.

Or maybe you have a mix of some of your biological children and adopted children. Regardless, it’s a wonderful thing you are doing.

But they come sometimes with some scar tissue on them, so you have got to be prepared for that. Here is the good news. They have done some excellent research on this. There are some fabulous books out now and studies done to show you how to make the most of this. And adoption agencies are a lot more savvy at preparing you for this.

Just know that along the way, yeah, it can get weary, but you are doing a huge, a wonderful thing for this child.

DARCY: I think one of the best things that I can tell you as an adoptive parent—and maybe you already realize this, but if you haven’t, it can be very freeing—that no matter how much you love that child, no matter how much of yourself and your family you give to that child, they are going to have to struggle through grief and anger and abandonment issues.

TIM: Yeah. Don’t take those things personally.

DARCY: Don’t take those things personally. That is just part of their journey. And if you realize that, you can help them through it.

And also, celebrate their family of origin, even if you don’t know that much about it. Make sure that you help them get informed as much about it as possible, because that has a lot to do with their self-esteem. You need to ask their permission to talk about that in public, but make sure you make all of that available to them.

TIM: Now, it’s not uncommon that their family of origin has some very unfortunate circumstances attached to it, but we don’t need to play those up. These are still people. They gave this child life. Regardless of the circumstances around that, we want to make sure that we never speak in a disparaging way about where they came from, because this is very important to them.

DARCY: And one of the best things you can do is enlist some support, and some prayer support, from family members who love you and from friends who have been through this, because you have taken on a huge responsibility, but one that God is so positive about, and He wants to bless you so much.

There is a verse in Psalm 82:3 that says, “Vindicate the weak and the fatherless. Do justice to the afflicted and the destitute”—and you have done that by adopting your child.

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