Navigating the Intricacies of Parenting Through Adoption: Part 1
Loving and Supporting Your Adopted Child
Congratulations! Your family has grown through the beautiful process of adoption. You’ve shown tremendous love and dedication to make it through the grueling and slow process, but now, as you bring your little one home, a new and unique challenge awaits. In this two-part series we will explore the challenges that come with raising an adopted child, and also the intricacies of integrating that child into your existing family while mindfully considering the impact on your biological children. Parenting is already challenging enough, but parenting through adoption can present additional hurdles that require extra care and attention. Keep reading to discover some of the obstacles your family may face, and some tips on how to navigate life as an adoptive family.
Grief, Loss, and Rejection
As an adoptive parent, it’s important to recognize that even the happiest of children may experience feelings of grief, loss, and rejection related to their birth parents. After all, babies in the womb can recognize their mother’s voice – even children who were adopted as infants may grieve the loss of that connection. It’s absolutely normal for your child to think about their birth family, and it’s crucial to support their emotions and never take them personally. By acknowledging and validating their feelings, you can deepen your relationship and build your child’s trust in you. If your child wants to pursue a relationship with their birth family, be open and supportive to their needs. Remember: these emotions are not a reflection of your parenting abilities or your child’s feelings for you!
Guilt and Shame
As adults, we understand that most birth parents give up their children out of necessity. However, adopted children often experience negative emotions such as guilt and shame. They may feel responsible for their circumstances or unworthy of their biological parents’ affection. In the past, secrecy around adoption added to this burden of shame. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way in modern adoption, and most adoptions are more transparent and collaborative than ever before! It’s essential for adoptive parents to be open to addressing any questions or worries the child might have regarding the circumstances of their adoption to ensure that they feel loved and accepted for who they are.
As parents, we all want the best for our children, including their emotional well-being. It’s not uncommon for adopted children to have a curiosity about their biological family. Even non-adopted individuals find genealogy and family history intriguing! It’s completely natural for your child to want to connect with their past and understand their roots. As challenging as it may be, being supportive and open to helping your child discover more about their birth family can be a truly fulfilling experience. This effort will not only strengthen their trust in you, but also deepen your bond with them.
Intimacy and Control
As an adoptive parent, you may need to navigate emotional barriers that your child has built to protect themselves from feeling rejected and abandoned. Your child may feel a lack of control over their situation, leading to a desire to control their environment. Forming intimate relationships can be particularly challenging for them, even with those closest to them. Don’t panic if negative behaviors arise – they are not a reflection of you as a parent! These types of challenges are often amplified in adoptive families, but it is essential that your child knows they can trust you no matter what. Patience and understanding are necessary as they work through their emotions and realize that your love is unconditional.
You Don’t Have to Do It Alone.
Adoption can present a slew of challenges, but you don’t have to face them alone. There are a variety of resources available to help your family through these obstacles, including individual and family counseling. Consulting with a counselor can bring your family closer together by enhancing your understanding of each other with the help of an experienced, unbiased mediator.
It’s important to remember that all families encounter challenges, and parenting can be a difficult journey even in the most ideal circumstances. Although the challenges of parenting through adoption may be unique, facing them with patience and love can help bring you and your adopted child closer together and strengthen your familial bond. Keep going, mama – you’re doing great!