We are deeply grateful for trusted adoption ministry partners like Loving Shepherd Ministries who share their experience and expertise so freely with families in process. This post is from Amber Steffen and Loving Shepherd Ministries.
The adoption journey is filled with twists and turns.
Delays, laws changing, countries closing, overworked foster care workers, birth mothers changing their minds, financial barriers … Adopting can be a scary, hard process.
Our goal at Loving Shepherd Ministries (and our goal with this post!) is to offer you a roadmap—via 5 questions to ask—so that you aren’t tempted to quit during this process.
Bottom line: You don’t need to walk this journey alone.
Here are 5 important questions to ask.
1. Is adoption right for us?
There are many ways to care for vulnerable children. Adopting can be a wonderful option, but it isn’t the only option.
As you begin to evaluate whether or not God is calling you to adopt, stop and consider your motive. Do you want to adopt because God is calling you to reach a child in need or because you have an unfulfilled longing in your heart or life?
“The single most predictive factor for a child’s attachment is whether or not the parents have made sense of their own story.” Dr. Curt Thompson
2. What kind of adoption should we pursue?
The 3 main ways to adopt are domestic, international, and foster-to-adopt. Read more about each one here.
We recommend using our free Adoption Assessment Form, which will ask you a variety of questions and help you narrow down your options. Loving Shepherd Ministries has helped families navigate 7,300+ adoptions and can help guide yours.
3. What special needs are we open to?
In the adoption world, “special needs” refer to anything from minor, correctable surgeries to long-term care needs and everything in between. Sometimes “special needs” can also be applied to children who are simply older (school-aged) or part of a sibling group. Sometimes “special needs” include malnutrition or global developmental delays.
Often when you sign with an adoption agency, you will be asked to fill out a form acknowledging which (if any) special needs your family would be comfortable and capable of caring for in a child.
Some common special needs that you and your family will need to choose whether or not to accept include cleft lip, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, AIDS, Hepatitis, or Down Syndrome.
Whatever decisions you feel like you’re being called to make, see if you can find somebody who has already made that decision and talk to them.
4. What adoption agency should we choose?
Choosing the right agency is critically important to your adoption journey.
When looking for the right adoption agency, you want to look for one that is reputable and trustworthy. Our biggest advice is to call and ask questions. When you take our free adoption assessment form, we provide you with free, personalized adoption resources including a list of reputable adoption agencies we recommend.
The goal in picking an agency is 1) to know how they feel about certain issues, and 2) to know you can easily and comfortably take your questions and concerns to them throughout the process.
5. How can we fund our adoption?
Know there are many resources available to you.
Lifesong is one organization that will help guide you through the fundraising process, keeping it simple so you can focus on bringing your child home. Start here if you want more information.
Everything from the adoption tax credit to interest free loans and adoption grants exist for families like yours. Don’t let the adoption costs scare you. If it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill. He will provide if He’s calling you to adopt. It does require humility and asking for help, but help is available.
To learn more about Loving Shepherd Ministries and the resources they provide to assist families like yours through the adoption process, go loving-shepherd.org.
No matter where you are in the adoption process, we want to support families like yours throughout the journey. We recently collaborated with a few of our friends and put together a FREE Book Bundle of chapters from 8 of our favorite adoption-centered books—over 150 pages of helpful content!
Download your free book bundle today!