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Questions to Ask / Things to Consider

If you’re just getting started on your adoption journey or you’re thinking about adoption, there are many questions to ask and issues to consider. Adoption is a lifelong family commitment and to prepare yourself for the joys and challenges of raising an adopted child, we’ve compiled a list of questions for you to consider and discuss with your spouse, partner and/or family.

Adoption is not for everyone so it’s important that you’re prepared to deal with the financial, time and other lifestyle commitments that will be required of you and your family. Your social worker will want to discuss many of these issues and will then make recommendations to you and your family about the type of child(ren) he/she feels will be best matched to your family. These recommendations will be included in your home study and will help other adoption workers in the matching process.

Part 1: General Adoption Questions

  • Can you love and accept a child who is not genetically related to you or your spouse? Can you accept that he/she may not look like you?
  • Will you be open with your child about his/her adoption? Are you prepared to discuss adoption with your child(ren)? Will you prepare and educate yourself on how to discuss some potentially difficult issues about adoption like abuse, neglect or abandonment?
  • How does your extended family feel about your adoption plan? Are they supportive? Are you prepared to deal with negative reactions from friends or family?
  • Can you accept the possibility that you may be given incomplete or inaccurate information about the child’s birth family and medical/social histories?
  • Can you accept the risk that the child you adopt may have some developmental, behavioural and/or learning delays?
  • Can you accept the risk of an adoption falling through? How will you cope with the disappointment of a failed adoption?
  • Will you be open about adoption with your child? Are you prepared to discuss adoption with your child(ren)?
  • How will you feel if your child(ren) wants to meet his/her biological parents or relatives in the future? Will you be supportive of your child if he/she expresses such an interest?
  • Part 2: Questions To Consider About the Child You Hope to Adopt

  • What age range are you considering? (i.e. Do you want an infant, toddler, preschooler or an older child?)
  • Do you want to adopt a boy or a girl? Or, do you not care about the gender?
  • Are you willing to adopt a child of another race or one who is of mixed race?
  • Would you be open to considering a child with special needs? (Special needs can range from mild to severe)
  • Would you consider a child who was exposed to drugs or alcohol in-utero?
  • Would you consider adopting a sibling group?
  • Would you be willing to maintain some openness with some members of the child’s biological family, the foster parents (if applicable) or members of the child’s community (i.e. Elders in a Native community)?
  • Are you willing to adopt a child who does not have complete background information documented? (i.e. The agency may not know the biological family, all of their medical and social histories or the information provided may not be accurate)
  • Are you willing to adopt a child who has been abused? (Types of abuse could be emotional, mental, physical and/or sexual.)
  • Part 3: Transracial Adoption

  • If you’re going to adopt a child of another race, are you willing to learn about their culture and embrace it as part of your family’s new identity?
  • Do you have friends, family or contacts of other racial, ethnic or cultural backgrounds? If not, are you willing to seek out and develop these relationships?
  • Are you willing to relocate to another community or join appropriate organizations to find mentors and peers of your child’s race and culture?
  • Can you promote a healthy sense of culture and tradition so that your child forms a positive self-identity and self-esteem?
  • Your child may encounter racial discrimination and/or prejudice. How will you handle this and support your child?
  • Can you handle and deal with inappropriate comments and/or questions about your child’s racial background or adoption?
  • Part 4: Adopting the Older Child

  • Have you mourned the loss of parenting a newborn or very young infant? Have you resolved these feelings and feel positive about parenting an older child?
  • Are you prepared to spend a lot of time transitioning an older child from a foster home to yours?
  • Can you deal with and support a child who has suffered abuse (physical, mental, emotional and/or sexual) and/or neglect? How will you help your child overcome previous trauma and bond with your family?
  • Do you have a support system that can assist you with parenting a child with special needs?
  • Are you committed to incorporating your child’s past while building a foundation of security and trust for the future?
  • Can you handle initial rejection from an older child and be resilient enough to continue with the bonding and attachment process?
  • Are you willing to stay in contact with important people from the older child’s past?
  • Can you accept any existing medical, developmental or learning delays? Will you be an advocate for your child and get them the help and supports they require?

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