When Michigan families decide to welcome a new member of the family through adoption, they can expect that there will be some bumps along the way. No matter how well adoptive parents may plan for the day the child comes home, there is bound to be a post-adoption adjustment period that will alter the family dynamic.
For West Michigan residents, understanding the steps to adoption, from filing applications, medical clearances, background checks, completion of matching and placement, to the court filing for an Order Placing Child (OPC) that concludes the process, can be challenging without sound legal guidance along the way.
Facing adjustment issues after adoption
One of the fundamental relationship shifts that will occur after the adopted child comes home will be the identitity change of everyone in the family. The child will become a son or daughter, or brother or sister, while the parents become mom and dad to a new child. Making room for one more will mean that there must be flexibility and a willingness to live together.
Some other issues to be aware of for both parents and children include:
- Postadoption depression: For parents who have completed the grueling process of adoption, once their adopted child is with them, they may experience a period of depression due to the shock of new responsibilities, feelings of inadequacy or guilt at not being birth parents, as well as the letdown after having to spend months or years trying to prove their worthiness to be parents.
- Expectations: Adoptive parents will have to get over the expectation that the child they brought home has a clean slate. It will most definitely not be that, as both the child and the parents bring with them everything they have experienced prior to adoption, which for the child may often include trauma, rejection, or other painful experiences. Trust issues may take a long time to overcome.
- Cultural differences: Depending on the heritage or ethnicity of the child, learning to adjust will take time and tolerance from all sides.
Adoption in Michigan
Whether it is to adopt a child through the Michigan foster system, through a private agency or from out of state or internationally, it is important to have the resources to begin the process. Prospective parents do not need to own their own home, be wealthy or be married to adopt, but they must have licensing to become foster parents or complete home study for adoption. Financial or medical support is available to families who adopt through the foster care system.