Monday, March 7, 2016

Adoption 101: Thoughts and Reflections

By Matt Mitrovich.

Last month, Alana and I attended Adoption 101 over at the The Cradle's headquarters in Evanston, IL. This was the first of many required classes Alana and I need to take as part of our Home Study. We were excited, not to sit all day in class, but to be one step close on our road to starting our family.

The class began with a tour of the facilities, including the nursery. There were actual babies staying there and I think we both agree it was hard not to offer immediately to take one home with us. I learned that they have a waiting list for "cuddlers" that is often longer then the list of parents wanting to adopt. It was too cute for words, but the real work was about to begin.

We, and several other prospective parents, sat together to listen to lectures, guest speakers and short documentaries. It was interesting at times, although most of the stuff we already knew...or Alana did. She has been intensely researching adoption and probably knew more then anyone else attending Adoption 101 besides The Cradle staff.

Admittedly there were a few instructive moments for both of us. The segment on Trans-Racial adoptions really opened our eyes to how difficult in can be, especially for the child.  We watched a video where children who were adopted outside their race discussed the issues they had to deal with and how they often felt disconnected from their peers of the same race. Some were quite angry with their adoptive parents regarding this.

Both Alana and I had thought about adopting outside our race, but we never realized the challenges it can bring. We have been talking about it a lot more now, but we are still undecided. We believe that every child deserves a family, but we understand that the choice should not be a casual one. The Cradle recommended learning about the race/culture of the child you want to adopt so they can be comfortable about their background as they get older. Certainly this is going to require more learning on our parts.

Additionally, we got a chance to hear from families in open adoptions. This is something that Alana was more concerned about then I was. To be fair, even I was surprised to learn that in the one family who spoke to the group the birth mother of one child was the babysitter for both of the adoptive parents children. Certainly not every family has an open adoption like that one. In that same family, the mother of the other child wanted nothing to do with her child and they rarely see her. The experience certainly left us both feeling better about open adoptions.

Finally it was the statistics about birth mothers that has still stuck with me even today. Society tells us that most birth mothers who give their children away for adoption are teenagers who weren't thinking and got knocked up. The Cradle dispelled us of this myth when they told us that a majority of their birth mothers are in their mid-20s and are already mothers of other children. They believe those women are more likely to give their children away for adoption because they know what it is like to raise and pay for a new child and can make a logical decision about their capabilities as a parent.

So those are our thoughts and reflections about Adoption 101. We are done with the initial paperwork, which included another $500 check. If you want to support us, please consider donating to our GoFundMe account or share our blog posts with your friends and family. We have gotten some more donations through the Internet and by mail; and we are extremely grateful for everyone's help.

Stay tuned for more updates on our adoption journey.