As a parent to kiddos adopted out of difficult situations, here are the things I wish I heard prior to adoption:
1) It’s not gonna feel good all of the time.
2) Nurture is awesome, but genetics are huge.
3) You might have days where you wished you had made a different decision. (don’t guilt yourself about it)
4) Raising children with extra needs causes you to live life around a schedule of medicines, appointments, triggers, and other issues.
5) It does hurt when you are told that you are not their “real parent”. (even though you pretend it doesn’t)
6) Fear causes you to overthink…a lot.
7) There will be things that come up in your child’s life that you never had to deal with.
8) Don’t compare your own upbringing or the way you were as a child to what you expect or wish of your child.
9) Adoptive parenting can be very lonely and isolating.
10) Don’t underestimate your voice in all of it.
11) Never underestimate your child’s voice in all of it.
12) Get used to advocacy. It will become one of your best assets.
13) Adoption = loss. It just does.
I never want to paint a rosy or perfect picture of adoption – not even during National Adoption Month. Instead, I want others to know that while adoption is incredible and totally life-changing, it is also hard.
In order for us (people who work and live life within the realm of adoption) to make a difference, we need to take off our rose-colored glasses. We need to tell it like it is.
We have to understand that adoption is wonderful but also challenging. The gavel’s declaration of adoption does not mean that hard stuff ends. If anything, it is just beginning.
For any of you who are parents through adoption and are struggling, I see you. I get it. I am right there with you. These things are what I wish I heard prior to adoption, but I’m thankful to have learned them along the way.
Keep your chin up. Keep it real.