How We Prepared Our Family For Adoption


We asked one of our familes to share how they prepared their family for adoption before they brought their son home. This is their story:

In real estate, the three most important factors are location, location, location. I believe that major family decisions also have three important factors: communication, communication, communication. Oh, and prayer. And understanding. And open-minded…ok I think you get the idea. Dealing with major changes in our own lives is often stressful. When you add to that the fact that your decisions will also alter the lives of your young children then the stress level is multiplied…exponentially. I have four children. Two of them are older and out of the house, the others are ten and eight. I must admit that I believe my life revolves around them. Nothing in this world brings me more joy than my time with my family whether it is at home, the ballpark, getting ice cream, church or wherever we may be. I believe it is very important to them as well; it’s a big part of our family, so you can imagine our concern for initiating discussions about adding another factor to our family dynamic.

The first thing that was very important for my wife and I was to know that this decision is ours to make, not the kids’. We certainly consider their feelings and want them to be an active, excited part of the process but it is our decision to make. We also were very careful about knowing that we were committed to the process before mentioning anything. I believe that if children think you are “thinking” about a decision they will feel as if they have the possibility of influencing your decision to their liking. Now, knowing that the decision lie with my wife and me does not mean that we went with the “here’s what we’re doing whether you like it or not” approach. This is a sensitive matter for young children whom are about to see some real changes in their lives. And we found it important to understand that in their eyes those changes may seem threatening.

In revealing the information to them, we found a few things to be extremely important. First of all, we had to surmise that they were in the right mood to receive such news. We actually changed telling them a couple times just because with whatever was going on we didn’t think it would be received very well. The next thing we knew to be important was to let them process the information. We told the kids one day while we were in the park and our son, Spencer, needed time to be alone. He went for a walk (still within our site) just to let it sink in. Every fiber of me wanted to walk with him and say, “What are you thinking What’s wrong? You need to be ok with this.” But we knew that he needed time to let it sink in. Of course we want them to be ok with this decision, but it has to be THEM being ok with it, not us telling them how they should feel. Emilie much more quickly revealed her excitement and the only thing she was upset about was that we told her so early in the process. “I can’t wait a year, why didn’t you tell me the day before we went to pick him or her up?”

Throughout the process, we are still very careful to consider their feelings whenever the topic is discussed. Little by little we ask them things like, “How do you think you’ll feel about sharing your things? Do you think you’ll be able to help him or her get used to going to school?” We do this very carefully and do not force any of it on them. Emilie, of course, is super excited. That’s Emilie, it’s what she does. Spencer is much more reserved, likes his current set-up, and needs to know all of the details before he accepts things. But he is getting there. He offers ideas and suggestions from time to time as we take it step by step. Considering all of these factors, perhaps the best way to describe how we prepare our family for this process is best summed up as: baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.

You can read more about their success story here!

Photo Credit: Photo used with permission.

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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.