Adoption Education: Why It’s Important

By Ashley Kodet and Jeanne McGee,
Adoptions from the Heart

Education is crucial — before, during, and after you choose adoption. Adoption is a beautiful thing and the connections created by adoption are rare, to say the least. For anyone who is unfamiliar with adoption, the functionality of relationships in the triad can be difficult to understand.

Adoptive Families

Photo via Flickr.

The “adoption triad” describes the one-of-a-kind connection between three parties in an adoption— birth parents, adoptive family, and child. For people who do not have a direct link to adoption, the lifestyle of those involved in the “triad” can be incomprehensible. Throughout the adoption process there are several things you should try to understand about adoption.

Emotions

Learn about the unmatched emotional experience you will have in an adoption—the excitement, joy, anxiousness, fear, and deep love. You should be sensitive to all emotions and scenarios that might come about throughout the process. For couples who have experienced infertility, adoption might be only a second option to fertility treatments. Educational sessions will often make you aware of any grief of fertility that you may be unaware of but holding onto. It’s important that families explore this grief so that they can make take all the necessary steps to move on to adoption in a healthy way.

Perspective

Not only should you learn about emotions you might experience throughout adoption, but you should also do as much as you can to put yourself in the shoes of an adopted child and his or her birth parents as well. By attending educational sessions you might be able to gain a better perspective on the entirety of the process. You will discover what amazing strength birth parents have and what life struggles they are actually going through.

Misconceptions

You should know that it’s okay to talk about your adoption fears. There are so many common stereotypes and misconceptions about adoptions—a lot of the times it’s not portrayed accurately on TV and in magazines. We all know that the media has a way of twisting things. This is why it’s so important to speak with adoption professionals, hear their stories, and ask a lot of questions. Once you get your questions answered firsthand, you’ll be able to distinguish realities from illusions.

Uniqueness

Open adoption in particular can be the tough to grasp at first. There are both pros and cons to having openness in an adoption plan. By learning both the advantages and disadvantages you’ll be better prepared to choose a level of openness that is best for you and your child. Each adoption plan is as unique as the precious child involved. Whether you’re adopting trans-racially, internationally, or domestically you should learn how to celebrate diversity in your family and how to deal with those who may not understand adoption themselves.

Knowledge

The basic key to adoption success is knowledge. Knowledge from professionals, fellow adoptive parents, adoptees, birthparents, and anyone else with their own adoption experiences can be beneficial beyond belief. Learn about the (sometimes complicated) legalities of adoption; gather some statistics, advice, and opinions. You’ll be better prepared to answer questions that might come up from choices on your profile key to questions your child might ask later down the road. Attending educational sessions is the best way to ensure that you choose the right decisions throughout your unique adoption journey.

About the Authors

Ashley Kodet, MSW, LSW, is an Adoption Social Worker who has worked for Adoptions From the Heart for three years. Jeanne McGee, MSS is Domestic Program Coordinator, Regional and District Supervisor who has worked for Adoptions From the Heart for five years. Their roles at Adoptions From The Heart allow them to work with both adoptive parents and birth parents, with the goal of building beautiful families.

If you’re considering adoption as your family building path, join us on Saturday, January 25, 2014 for our Adoption Connect & Learn Seminar in Waltham, MA. Register online here.

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