They say that one of the elements that help in successfully navigating the adoption process is the presence and support of loved ones and friends. But what if this is not true for your case? What if you meet with either apathy or worse, opposition, from people you have counted on to be there for you at this time?
Here are some things to remember during your A Act of Love Adoption:
– Your loved ones need to grieve, too. You may have gone past the grieving process after struggling with infertility issues. Your loved ones may still not be ready and may need some time to grieve about their loss. Your parents may need time to mourn the loss of not having a grandchild who has “my nana’s eyes”. Your sibling may feel the loss of not having a nephew who has “Uncle Ben’s killer skills in the baseball field”. Give them their time to grieve and process their feelings about an impending family member that is not what they would have originally envisioned for you.
– Understand their fears. Perhaps they have been with you through the heartaches you experienced in your journey to become parents. They may have unspoken fears about further disappointment or hurt for you when an adoption falls through. The fears can also be because adoption is a new (and therefore unknown) experience for them. Understanding the source of their antagonistic feeling will be a first step in the right direction.
– Counter fear with information. You can share information regarding adoption, how you feel about it and how deeply you have researched your options. You can show them examples of families who adopted and how the adoption has made a positive impact for the child, the parents and even their loved ones.
– Do what you think is best. In the end, you and your spouse will be the ones who will ultimately decide the steps you want to take. Make it clear that although your loved ones’ support is precious and will be appreciated, their lack of support will not deter you from making the choices that you think are best for your family.
– Protect your child from hurtful comments. Hopefully, your loved ones will come around once they get to know your child. There are grandparents who come to learn to love their grandchildren by adoption in spite of their previous protests. However, if your loved ones do not seem to be so inclined, make your stand about the matter. Tell your loved ones that you love them very much and want them to be part of your lives, but doing so means that they must respect your choices, whether they agree with them or not.
– Set ground rules. Even in instances where you and your loved ones agree to disagree and they remain firm in their disapproval of the adoption, you can set ground rules in how they can behave during family gatherings. For instance, if an aunt or uncle refuses to accept the adoption, you can respectfully, but firmly set ground rules as to how they should treat your child. Some ground rules to include your relative being hospitable and polite to the child and to never refer to the child in any way that could be insulting or demeaning (such as calling the other children “the real family members” and referring to the child as “the adopted one”). You can also agree that your child be included during celebrations and in extended family photos.
– Limit contact with the family member. Or if this is not enough, you can choose to cut-off contact with a family member who continues to choose to treat your child badly. Ask yourself if it is really worth maintaining a relationship with someone who refuses to respect your choices. Remember, your first priority as a parent is to safeguard your child, especially from situations that may cause him long-term emotional harm.
These are just some ways to deal with unsupportive loved ones. While working with A Act of Love Adoptions, you will be given the opportunity to have counseling. Take this opportunity to learn more about how to handle objections from loved ones about the adoption.