Having a child – and adopting, especially – is a massive decision. Your life will change in ways you can’t fully understand yet. There are some people who don’t fully understand what it means to have a child. They especially don’t understand what it means to adopt a child.


There are some couples who think that having children will fix their relationship or bring them closer together. In fact, bringing a child into an already troubled relationship can worsen marital woes. The stresses of having a child often amplify existing issues.


Some couples don’t think too much about their reasons for having a child. They simply believe it’s the next step. They see their siblings, friends and colleagues having children and think it’s time to join in. But if they aren’t able to conceive naturally or choose to adopt, they might start along that route without ever really considering if they’re ready. So, if you are thinking about adopting, here are some of the things you need to think about.


How long are you prepared to wait?

Adopting a child isn’t a quick process. It takes time. Sometimes far longer than you might have expected. You’ll likely be on a waiting list for months or even years. You’ll need to fill in many forms and complete many stacks of paperwork. This isn’t going to be a quick process. And you need to be sure you’re okay with that.


Are you willing to adopt an older child?

The majority of prospective adoptive parents want to adopt a baby. They want a cute little baby which they can dress in tiny outfits and coo over with their friends and family. But the reality is there are many older children who need to be adopted too. Unfortunately, they may be more difficult to raise because you don’t know what they’ve been through and what hardships they’ve faced. But they might be more grateful for that very reason. They’ll be thrilled to finally find their forever home.


Is your lifestyle stable?

This is an essential point to consider before you bring a child into your home. You need to be sure that your lifestyle is stable and can survive the emotional upheaval of a child. If you’re in a relationship, is your relationship strong enough to survive the addition of bringing a child into your family? If you’re going to be adopting alone, do you have a strong support system in place which can assist you when necessary? Do you have a stable form of income which can survive the financial demands of a child? Are you sure you’ll be living in the same home and city for the next few years? There is, after all, not much worse than having to pack up and move house with a newborn in tow.


Are you financially able to adopt?

Children are expensive. There’s no denying that. It costs money to feed, clothe them, house them, educate them and so much more. You need to be certain that you have an income which you can use to support your family. Bringing a child into your family is a big enough decision, you want to be sure you’re able to manage the financial aspect.


Are you willing to adopt a child with physical or mental disabilities?

Many children who have been put up for adoption have physical or mental disabilities. Unfortunately, some parents just can’t cope with the idea of raising a child with these disabilities. This might be because of their family situation, social issues or a lack of finances. Whatever the reason, these children need to find homes and need the love of a family.


Are you willing to adopt a child of another race?

Concerns have been raised about the possibility of children losing their connection to their culture and heritage if they are raised by a family of another race. GroundUp reported recently that the Department of Social Development’s policy was to try and find parents of the same race as the child to be adopted. In addition, it’s rare to find white babies available for adoption in South Africa while it is predominantly white families who are looking to adopt, the article said. So, adoption of a baby of another race does become inevitable.


Think about all these points carefully. Discuss them in detail with your partner and family. Only after you have all the information necessary, are you able to make an informed decision.

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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