One of the happiest days in an adoptive parent’s life is bringing the new family member home. It is common for adoption agencies, family counselors and others in support roles to prepare parents and other family members. Parents may have listened carefully to experts while going through the process, but life has a way of throwing parents curveballs, particularly when it comes to kids.
Below are some issues that we see crop up
Understanding these issues and what causes them can help parents before, during and after the adoption is final:
- Separation from family: Regardless of the cause for the adoption, many will still feel sadness, anxiety or stress over leaving their birth family behind, even when it is an open adoption. The birth family or foster family is the only family they know.
- Preadoption terminations: Giving up a child for adoption is a massive decision for the birth family, but other roadblocks can and often do arise as well. Issues can postpone or terminate the plans.
- Attachment challenges: Parents can try their best to provide a safe, loving and nurturing home, but there may be trauma in the child’s history (abuse, abandonment, loss, neglect) that remains long after the adoption takes place. Patience in addressing these feelings is crucial.
- Different backgrounds: This can involve different politics, beliefs, culture, education, and other things. Moreover, the divide can involve life beyond home and family unit and how others perceive them.
- Identity: Adoptive children may struggle even more than others about defining who they are, their self-worth and who they want to be.
Parenting is never easy
Any parent can describe a long list of challenges when raising a family. Parenting depends upon the child’s needs and the person doing the parenting. Preconceptions rarely are fulfilled, and a lot of work is done in the moment. The good news is that adoptive families are not alone – they have each other, friends and family, and various counseling and support groups. While this can sound daunting, and some days will be hard, exceedingly few adoptive families regret their decisions.