Prepare for a child with special needs. Understand that if you decide to adopt a child who has special physical, emotional, or mental challenges, you’ll need to assemble a strong support system even before adopting him or her. Expect to be your child’s primary advocate with pediatricians, specialists, social workers, child psychiatrists, caregivers, therapists, insurance providers, and school staff. Pray for God to give you: courage, optimism, a willingness to learn, a sense of humor, perseverance, creativity, flexibility, determination, and thick skin.

Prepare for an at-risk child. Consider how you and your spouse would handle the challenges of parenting a child with psychological or behavioral disorders or different ways of learning that make school hard for him or her. Pray for God to give you the wisdom you’ll need.

Consider an open adoption. Discuss whether or not you and your spouse might be willing to stay in contact with your adopted child’s birth parents, if doing so would enrich your child’s life. Trust God to help you navigate your relationship with the birth parents in ways that will prove most beneficial to you all, and especially to your child.

Adapted from The Adoption Decision: 15 Things You Want to Know Before Adopting, copyright 2007 by Linda Christianson. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or.,    

Laura Christianson, a writer, speaker, and adoptive mom, helps people think through adoption issues on her award–winning “Exploring Adoption” blog.  She is also the author of The Adoption Network and writes for numerous publications.  She and her family live in Washington state.