When thinking about starting a family, there are many questions prospective parents have. And when a child does arrive, being quick on your feet to address the unexpected is important, along with trusted people you can go to if you need help.
Parents who adopt are no different, except that there is a smaller pool of people available for advice.
On our Facebook page we asked adoptive parents and adoptees to share their experiences so that those looking to grow their families through adoption can gain insight on the process.
We asked, “What have you learned as an adoptive parent that would be helpful for prospective adoptive parents to know?” Here are some of the responses.
- “As an adoptee, I want the adoptive parents to know this: the sacrifice you make will be worth it, though the child you adopt will test you from time to time, and have a ton of questions. Just love unconditionally and your child will love you three-fold.” ~Melissa H.
- “Patience! If you are adopting through the foster system, it [can be] a very long process. There are times that I felt my boys would never be finalized. Also, there is always a certain amount of not knowing what the outcome will actually be. Adopting my two boys was a lot of work, but in the end, you forget all about the mounds of paperwork and social worker visits. The love you get from your children is the greatest thing in the world! I give thanks each and every day! ~Michael H.
- “It’s going to be a lot of hard work for a long time. People who support you won’t understand, and people who don’t support you will think you’re doing it wrong. But it is always worth it. Some days more than others, but the effort always pays off.” ~Kelly S.
- “Not everyone is capable of unconditional love. It’s possible that extended family won’t love your child unconditionally the way you do, especially if there are other biological children. Sad, but true. Be prepared for the possibility.” ~Diana H. S.
- “Your children (especially older child adoptees) do not owe you gratitude and respect for “all you do for them” because they were welcomed into your family. These values are taught through life experience and pouring out to others, not demanded. All children should receive parental care, provisions met, and an abundance of love as their birthright; not because they were “rescued from foster care” as some like to claim …” ~Laurie C.
- “Seek others who have adopted children and create lifelong friends. Your children will thank you.” ~Karen L.
- If typical parenting tools are not working, do not try harder – try differently! Understanding the brain differences caused by trauma and prenatal exposure to alcohol can help you stop chasing behaviors and instead focus on the reasons behind them.” ~Kari F.
- “It’s normal to sometimes feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s not because you’re an adoptive parent, it’s because you’re a parent.” ~Christine K.
- “Take advantage of family counseling. As rookie parents, we kept our top priority as doing what was best for our son. That includes maintaining contact with who he chooses from his bio family. And make friends with other adoptive parents – we are all in unique situations and can support and rally one another!” ~Joanie M. W.
- “Find an ‘adoption therapist’ [instead of] a traditional child therapist. Makes all the difference!Learn to have more patience than you ever imagined because there will be times nothing will make sense to you but does to your child (with a trauma-based past).Gently explain to family/friends that your child (if he/she is an older child adoption) did not experience ‘normal’ in their life. So trying to force ‘normal’ will not work. Along with their intentions to force ‘normal.’” ~Sandy P.
Let’s keep the conversation going. What other experiences have you had as an adoptive parent or as an adoptee that prospective adoptive parents should know?