Adoption is a beautiful thing. It’s inspiring, rewarding and incredibly challenging. Adoption is a wonderful way to build a family out of love. But as fantastic as it is, adoption is also hard for everyone involved. If you go through with it, you will go to classes and counselors and professionals that will prepare you for this amazing, blissful and at times frustrating path. But no matter how thorough they are, you will run into unexpected things. All parenthood is like that. Here are some things you should know if you are considering adopting.

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1. Adoption always means loss – Many of us have this idealized, rosy version of adoption. But no matter how wonderful it is, it always means loss, and you’ll have to deal with that. Even if you get your baby in the hospital and the mother is absolutely happy to sign over the parenting rights, there is loss involved. The biological parents will feel that loss. The baby’s extended family will feel that loss. Your child will feel that loss. Even you might feel the loss of not having carried him in your body. Even in “best case scenarios”, there are emotional scars that come with adoption. And you will have to deal with them in order to help your child deal with his own.

2. Most people will be supportive, but some will not – Luckily, most people in the world are wonderful humans that will be happy for you and your family and will provide you with the comfort and support every new parent needs. Some people, however, will make snide comments. They will be passive-aggressive or will let you know that you are not a “real” family. Those people are not worth your time. If they are being rude or malicious, it’s not your duty to educate them, you can just ignore them. When you are hurt by them, turn to your supportive friends and family, you will feel better.

3. Get the supportive people in your life to visit you when you bring your child home – It doesn’t matter if you are coming home from the hospital, the airport or the foster house, make sure there’s somewhere there to greet you and your new child. It doesn’t matter if the child is a baby or 13 years old, you need the special people in your life to be there. It will help mark the event as the special, wonderful milestone that it is. You just became a parent! Celebrate with your loved ones and welcome your child to the family. Baby showers, gifts for the baby and other “new baby” rituals are also very appropriate and will make you feel without a doubt like you are creating a real family, despite what some will tell you.