10 Tips for Adoptive Parents

Step 1: "It is possible for many people to adopt children, babies and older kids." Read this, and other pearls of wisdom from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Adoption.

A dad sings to his adopted child

1. It is possible for many people to adopt children, babies and older kids from the U.S. and other countries. Find out what resources are available in your community and state, and network your way to adoption success.

2. Learn as much as you can about a child you are thinking about adopting, but remember that sometimes information is just not available. At some point, a leap of faith is required to adopt.

3. Avoid telling your extended family everything you know about your child's background, especially anything that might be negative. It should be private and for him to share if he wishes.

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4. Don't keep the adoption secret from your child. Tell her she was adopted, and share information as the child is ready to understand it. Say that her birth parents weren't ready or able to care for her—but you were.

5. Most adopted kids grow up to be successful, happy adults. Some grow up to be presidents, Olympic athletes or successful entrepreneurs. Others are simply everyday nice people.

6. Being adopted can sometimes affect children, but remember, adopted kids are still just kids. Give them lots of love and help them achieve their potential.

7. Don't expect yourself to be perfect. It's too much work trying to achieve the impossible. Don't expect your child to be perfect either.

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8. Try to teach people to use positive adoption language, such as birth mother instead of real mother. But realize it takes time to change.

9. If your adult child decides to search for a birth parent, it doesn't mean you failed as a parent. He needs your support.

10. Ignore anyone who tells you adoption isn't as good as biological parenting. If they havent adopted, how would they know?

From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Adoption (Second Edition, 2005).


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