Let’s be honest: adopting isn’t easy. (Nor should it be.)
This weekend, a group of adopting parents from across the USA are traveling to San Antonio. They’re coming here for Abrazo’s very last Parents of Tomorrow weekend of this decade.
In order to qualify, they’ve had to submit countless personal documents verifying everything from their marriage and household income to sperm counts and insurance coverage. They have to undergo fingerprinting and FBI background checks. They’ve had to provide us with their physicals, their tax returns and pictures of every room in their home.
And that’s just to get their foot in the door. They haven’t even gotten accepted into our program, yet. Yet to get this far, they all have had to already build solid marriages, establish stable homes, accrue financial stability, and endure documented infertility.
(No, adopting isn’t easy.)
Why Adopting Isn’t Easy
The public often complains that the adoption process is far too difficult, too expensive and too lengthy. In this era of fast food and instant gratification, it’s easy to understand why it seems that adoption should be quick and easy. (Like divorce, perhaps?)
As adoption professionals, we agree that the paperwork is often repetitive. We understand that the costs of all the services involved in adopting (from background checks to homestudy expense to medical bills to agency fees to attorneys’ charges and maternity support) seems outrageous. We share our waiting families’ frustration at the waiting time, the delays and disappointments when adoption plans fail, as sometimes they will.
Yet, the truth is that anything as life-changing as a child’s adoption should not be simple nor quick nor easy. Even if easier adoptions made more homes available, that’s no guarantee that those placements would be any more secure. Child welfare concerns should always pre-empt adult convenience, no matter what.
Adoptions, just like the best of marriages, should be carefully considered in advance by all parties. Open adoption relationships take time to grow, if they are to last– just as all successful family bonds develop best over time (and yes, with testing.)
Any major life transition like adoption must be undertaken with care. Even when placements do happen quickly, it still takes time to adapt as a family. (One Abrazo couple just got The Call to return to Texas to meet their new baby only 3 weeks after their expected adoption match failed. They’re overjoyed, of course– but still adjusting, nonetheless.)
Nothing about adopting is easy, nor should it be. It’s far too important for that.
Nothing Good Comes Easy
The truth is that adopting isn’t easy, and it’s getting harder. A record low birthrate in America, coupled with changing social mores and shrinking international adoption options, has made infant adoptions in the US increasingly rare.
The couples joining Abrazo’s full-service program after this weekend face the invasive process of undergoing homestudies so they can wait on expectant parents to pick them as potential parents for their children. Some couples may luck out and place quickly, in six months or less. Most, however, will find themselves on a seemingly endless rollercoaster of fresh hopes, quiet fears, dashed dreams, false starts, and eventually, restored faith on their way to adopting in the year/s ahead.
Yet just like over 1500 Abrazo families before them over the past quarter-century, if they’re able to embrace the truth of “not if but when” then they’ll reach the point when they, too, will say “adopting isn’t easy… but it’s absolutely worth it!”