The Pros of the Process


Family - Summer - BeachWe all know how tedious the adoption process can be. When all you want is to bring your child into your arms once and for all, it’s difficult not to crumble under the frustrations of paperwork and in-country turmoil. Lucky for you, I thrive on optimism. While there are certainly frustrations throughout, I am here to tell you that there are, indeed, pros to enduring the lengthy international adoption process:

  1. Education РThe adoption process often allows for more time to focus on any concerns or skills you may need to address as an adoptive parent. While we do require all parents to complete an adoption education program through MLJ, it does not cover or encompass all of the many educational programs that are available to adoptive parents. There is an enormous amount of information to soak up that will increase your knowledge about adopting internationally, any special needs that your child might have, and any cultural characteristics to which your child is accustomed. The better educated you are, the easier it will be to transition your child into your home.
  2. Personal Evaluation РThe international adoption process allows the opportunity for parents to make many decisions, and the time for you to dig deep into any biases and preferences that you may have. You get to choose the country, age, gender, or special needs that you and your family are prepared to bring into your home. Having the time to self-evaluate will allow you to find ways in which your lifestyle fits some options better than others. Perhaps you begin the adoption process wanting to adopt a child younger than three years old. Prior to completing the home study, you realize that you actually excel at working with older children and desire to apply your skills to your adoption. You can then speak with your home study assistant and adjust your preferences to better match your personal skills.
  3. Ethical Practice РAllowing for the process to play out ensures that the adoption is being completed in an ethical manner. Believe it or not, the system is in place for a reason. Behind all the background checks, home studies, applications, legal fees and court dates is a pure-hearted intention to ensure your child’s safety in the world. While you may know that you are a good and safe match for your child, the process allows for authorities in both countries to be sure of the same thing. You and the adoption authorities are both advocating for the best interests of the child Рthe pathways each party takes to do this just look different. As the adoptive parent, you are able to bring the child into your home and heart. As a government official, you are able to ensure that the child’s best option truly is going home with you. Without all the paperwork mumbo-jumbo, the child is at risk of being placed in an inappropriate home or illegally exploited.
  4. Future Success of Programs РAt MLJ, we recognize that international adoption is not always the smoothest of processes. Your feedback on how the process is going can benefit the families who adopt internationally in the future. If you have suggestions for MLJ as an agency, please bring those to us and we will evaluate how we can implement changes for our families. Bringing concerns regarding the system to us allows for us to take action on issues that may not be getting the attention that they need. We will reach out to appropriate connections that may be able to help make an impact, whether on the US legal side or through the country you are adopting from. You get to be a stepping stone for the next family to go through the process. Through your efforts, you are indirectly bringing hundreds of additional children home through a smoother and more secure process.

And finally, behind all that paperwork lies a child who becomes a vital member of your forever family. There is a purpose to the frustration, anxiety, stress and doubts. The paperwork process is slowly guiding your child home, one page at a time.

Sierra Smith is in a summer internship program at MLJ Adoptions as part of her Bachelor’s of Social Work studies at The University of Iowa. Upon graduation in the fall of 2016, Sierra hopes to use her degree to promote and shape policy in international adoption by eliminating barriers to the adoption process.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.