Even with the subject of adoption becoming more prevalent and talked about in our society today, it can still be seen as a romanticized act. We are rarely exposed to the gritty details of all that an adoption entails. When the media portrays adoption, they too choose to give glimpses of the highs while frequently abandoning the lows, or they can paint a misleading picture of an adoption where you aren’t aware of the time gone by before a match is made. So, when my husband and I entered the adoption process, our vision of what to expect was tainted by some rose-colored glasses. Color photo of a laughing baby boy lying on his back on a textured blanket.Now that we are fully involved in our adoption and awaiting an adoption opportunity, I recall some aspects about adoption that I learned after our process began. Here are the top five things I didn’t know about adoption before starting the process:

1. The Amount of Paperwork

After our family met with an adoption agency and received information that would assist us in choosing whether we would be best suited to pursue international or domestic adoption, we quickly learned that our decision led to specific mounds of paperwork required just to get the process started. We assumed that our paperwork would consist of some personal information and then details about a child we would adopt. However, as we tirelessly completed stack after stack of applications, background checks, financial requests, reference forms, and our life and family’s history, we would then get to papers that included information about an adopted child. We understood the necessity behind all the required paperwork, but we did not realize the length of time it would take to finalize each and every document required to begin our adoption.

2. The Financial Responsibility

My husband and I have friends who have adopted children, and we have seen their requests to fundraise. We were aware that adoption could require some advanced planning for our finances once we commenced, but until we started talking with our adoption consultants about situations and estimated expenses, we didn’t fully grasp the reality of what adoption costs could be when all is said and done. Our family has now planned for fundraisers and grants to help aid in the financial responsibility for our adoption.

3. The Detailed Home Study

When the adoption social worker showed up at our door for the first home study visit, we expected the meticulous and strict inspection of how we lived and the house we could provide for an adopted child. After we passed the review of our social worker for our physical home, the part we learned would become more extensive was the interview for each of our family members. The social worker asked many intimate and in-depth questions to declare our family able in all areas to bring an adopted child into our family. The interview consisted of each family member meeting separately with our social worker, and then she met with us all together. We were not fearful of her questions or the answers we would give. Our inexperience just rendered us naïve to what the complete home study would look like.

4. How to Create an Adoption Profile

My preconceived notion about the profile that prospective birth moms would view about our family was a little different from what we now send to expectant mothers. It had a lot of information in it and a picture of our family, but in my mind, it was a single sheet of paper that came from my home printer. Thankfully, what our adoption consultant assisted us with was how to create a professional-looking profile book that included several pictures of our family, our home, our hobbies and interests. This book was also very creatively assembled and incorporated information about our lifestyle, future hopes for our family, and fun facts about each of us. Much to our amazement, our profile book was one of the most exciting elements of the preparation process for our adoption, because we got to construct what our child’s birth mother would eventually see as we introduced our family.

5. How Many People Adoption Has Touched

When we first shared our intentions to adopt, our friends and family began to open up to us about their connections with adoption. Some had family members who had adopted a child. Others helped a friend coordinate a fundraiser to help with adoption expenses. Still some came to us beaming over the children standing before them who were adopted into their own family. We quickly learned that because we were willing to be open with our adoption story, it gave others the comfort to pass on their own personal connection to adoption as well. While it at first may seem like there aren’t many who can understand the path, we found out that in the adoption community, the support is wide and the encouragement far-reaching.

Our family is very thankful for the lessons we have learned so far along the journey of adoption and hope to gain much more insight as we continue walking on this path. One thing that will be certain is we will keep learning from those who have gone before us and offering guidance to those whose stride follows us.

Jill is a 32-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 5-year-old and 1-year-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.