One of the most exciting yet challenging parts of the adoption process is putting together the adoption plan. When you work with an adoption coach from GIFT, we help you put together an adoption plan that will act as a road map throughout the adoption process. Coupled with our adoption coaching, this adoption plan will keep you focused and on track, giving you the tools you need to get through the adoption process from start to finish.
The first step in putting together an adoption plan is to meet with your adoption coach to discuss your needs and your current stage in the adoption process. If you've already answered some of the most important pre-adoption questions, then you have a great start! These questions are some of the most difficult ones you'll encounter, but they're vital for not only helping you decide if adoption is right for you at this time, but also for providing a framework and guidance for your adoption plan. The answers are important, so if you haven't taken the time to work through the pre-adoption questions, start looking now - and don't be afraid to work on these with your GIFT adoption coach! We can help you sort through the questions and answers. After all, we're adoptive parents, too - we remember the things we needed to ask ourselves.
Once you've answered your questions, the next step in your adoption plan is to make a wishlist of what you're looking for in an adoption. The questions you've answered will help with this, but at this stage, you may want to get more specific, looking at details specifically to what type of adoption and child you want.
Next, you'll want to create a task list that will show you the road ahead. Adoptive Families Magazine has created a wonderful resource and list of things to consider for families in the adoption process. These tasks are recommended as a core foundation to your adoption plan and should be discussed with your coach:
Choose a homestudy social worker: Families going through the adoption process will need to participate in a homestudy, which is a comprehensive examination of your family, marital history, health, financial situation, and other details that demonstrate whether or not your home is a fit environment for a child. You'll be looking at your home, your neighborhood, and your lifestyle throughout this process. It can be daunting - but it is essential. Work with your adoption coach on creating strategies for surviving the homestudy. Start brainstorming discussions you'll need to have as part of the study and practice with your coach. Opening your life up to a stranger is challenging - but you don't have to go it alone.
Choose a child placement adoption agency: Choosing an adoption agency can be similar to making other significant decisions in one's life. Like anyone, you'll want to do your research before picking an adoption agency to move forward with. Ask the right questions to find out what you're looking for in an agency and if the agency you're working with can meet your needs as well as your expectations. Network with other adoptive families to get reviews or feedback on a particular agency. Ask for references. Work with your coach on putting together a checklist of things to review, questions to ask, and actions to take when choosing an adoption agency.
Choose an adoption attorney: Depending on your unique situation, where you live, and what type of adoption you're looking at, you may need to seek the assistance of an adoption attorney that specializes in this type of law. There are many interstate and international regulations surrounding adoption and it is the responsibility of your adoption attorney to guide you through that process while offering legal representation as needed throughout the process. Work with your GIFT adoption coach on researching adoption attorneys that can assist you. Make a list of questions to ask, recognize red flags, and do your research before choosing an attorney to work with.
Prepare an adoption budget: Adoption is a significant financial commitment. At this stage in your adoption plan, you'll want to sit down with your adoption coach and work out a budget so that you can prepare for what lies ahead. Calculate your homestudy fee, agency applications and program fees, document preparation and paperwork fees, travel expenses, pre-adoption and post adoption expenses, and other outside expenses that may come up throughout the adoption process. All of these things will vary by situation, location, type of adoption, and a host of other factors. Working with an adoption coach can aid in you being prepared so you can plan accordingly.
Create an adoption timeline: Again, because adoption is so unique, every family can expect to have a different timeline to work from. However, creating a timeline has many advantages, including keeping a sense of focus on the adoption and encouraging action. With a timeline as part of your adoption plan, you'll have a better understanding of the reality of how long the adoption process can be - and what you'll need to do to prepare. Work with your coach on setting up a goal timeline and as you move through the adoption process, update it so that it better reflects the actual process.
GIFT also recommends creating an adoption toolbox where you have strategies to cope with the stress, the confusion, the questions, and the overall experience. One of our favorite tools for this is a combination of our coaching services and the Prepare/Enrich program, which gives insight into adoption considerations, expectations, and parenting through assessment and evaluation. Working with an adoption coach throughout the adoption planning process is really one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself while ensuring you get through the adoption process in a healthy way!
Your adoption plan should be designed to grow with you and with these core elements to include, you'll be much better prepared for what your adoption experience holds. With an adoption plan and the support of your GIFT adoption coach, you can and will make it through this. You will build a strong foundation. You will be prepared. We'll help you get ready - and stay the course - no matter what happens in your adoption journey. Let us support you by helping you create a personalized adoption plan.