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How will the adoption process impact you?

Naturally, when thinking about the impact of an adoption, people often consider the way it will affect the child. They search for ways to make it easier on the child and to make the transition go smoothly. This is important, but you also want to think about how it's going to impact you.

First of all, you're going to have many choices to make. This can be exciting, as you decide where you want to adopt from, what age child you're interested in adopting and the like. However, these choices also alter the course of your life forever. This can bring about a lot of stress. Be prepared for this roller-coaster of emotions.

One of the most difficult things parents have to deal with is when an adoption falls through. If this happens late in the process, it's very hard to take. Technically, you'll understand all along that it might happen, but that doesn't mean it's easy.

Once you have adopted a child, you may feel a whole range of emotions. New parents are excited, but they also have to learn how to parent this young child -- something they may never have done before. It's a huge transition. When it's hard, parents sometimes increase their own stress levels by trying to internalize everything and refusing to say they're having problems. They've been waiting to adopt for so long that they're unwilling to admit that every second isn't ideal.

Adoption can be the best decision of your life, but it's not something to take lightly. Be sure you're prepared for everything, from the emotional side to the complex legal process that must be carried out properly.

Source: Child Welfare, "Impact of Adoption on Adoptive Parents," accessed Nov. 30, 2016

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