Ah, the joys and delights of adoption! And oh, the fears that can fill your heart! As you are embarking on the journey towards building a family through adoption, you may be faced with fears and apprehensions of what lies ahead. When these fears run through your mind, the first thing you should remember is that it is normal to have these apprehensions. Rather than brushing these fears off, it is best to explore and face these fears.
Here are some common misapprehensions prospective parents may have:
What if the adoption falls through?
With domestic infant adoptions, failed adoptions do not usually happen, but in some cases they do. To forestall this possibility, work with a reputable adoption agency, such as A Act of Love Adoptions. Adoption agencies also work directly with prospective birthparents, helping them in making an adoption plan and giving them access to pre-adoption counseling. The counseling prior to placement helps birthparents who are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy to come to a decision as to what they really want. You can also avail of the counseling to prepare yourself for the ups and downs you may experience during the adoption process. Reputable agencies will also work with birthmothers to understand the birthfather’s involvement in the unplanned pregnancy and adoption plan.
What if we don’t bond?
With infants, bonding usually happens easily and quickly to his parents. As parents, you will also bond with your child as you provide him with daily acts of love and affection. Bonding may be a challenge for older children, especially those who come from another culture or country. Older children may have memories of their birthparents or have experiences with abuse or neglect. It may also be a personal challenge for parents, especially if they are going into adoption after grappling with infertility. However, realize that bonding is a process. It is not forced. It is building a relationship of trust and love, where the child looks to his parents as the ones who are committed towards his good and towards meeting his needs. Be patient and understanding. Interact with the child. Slowly introduce new experiences and people as the child begins to bond with you. Spend time taking care of him and showing your unconditional love for him.
Am I really the child’s parent?
One of the major issues that a parent has to face is one’s entitlement to be a parent. When the adoption has been finalized, it is important for the parent to fully embrace the reality that even if the child was not naturally born to him or her, the child is, in every sense, his or her child. Entitlement means embracing the rights and authority one has as a parent. This is a process and you can turn to resources to help you – through support groups and pre and post-adoptive counseling. A parent can also start the steps towards “claiming” the child that is, finding, recognizing and verbalizing similarities they have with their child.
What if I botch telling my child about his adoption?
The key is in being open about the adoption early on. Tell your child about his adoption story. Start by using simple terms when he is still young – “You did not grow in mommy’s tummy, but you grew in my heart.” “We were very happy when we had the gift of you.” As the child grows older, get into more detail – about his culture and birthparents. An open adoption where you get regular contact with the birthparents can help in this. Make your child feel that the topic of adoption and his birthparents are not taboo, rather, that you are open to any questions he may have about his adoption story.
What if my child has struggles with adoption?
Chances are your child will struggle with adoption. Adoption involves loss – of their birthparents and extended relations, culture or country of origin. This is a loss an adopted child will feel and must come to terms with as he grows and develops his sense of self. Do not take it personally if your child experiences feelings of loss. What you can do is to provide an environment that welcomes and even encourages your child to explore and express his feelings. Build a home where he is constantly assured of his place as part of the family.