In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I had some uneducated apprehensions about pursuing adoption. I’m going to be honest about these apprehensions because I think it will be helpful. It’s easy to post articles like I’ve see float around social media on “What NOT to Say to Adoptive Parents,” but truthfully, I’m going to be an adoptive parent and have had to wrestle with some of those very things we want to self-righteously shame other people for asking/saying. Someone humbly and patiently bore with my ignorance so I could gain more knowledge and I’m grateful for it. And we’re adopting, in part, because of it!
1) Will I love this child like the child/children I gave birth to? Will I feel like he/she is “my own”?
2) Will I be tempted to spoil them/over compensate because of their difficult story?
3) Will I find my child from a different ethnicity as beautiful as my children with my and my husband’s genes?
4) Has God eradicated from my heart the sinful racism I was born with so that I can genuinely appreciate and educate my child in his/her birth culture?
5) Will my child have a propensity to different/”scarier” sins because of being adopted/their birth parent’s history?
6) What are birth parents really like? Are they the stereotypical irresponsible teen drug addicts sleeping around with whomever, whenever?
7) What if the birth parents change their mind?
8) How expensive is adoption and how do you get that much money?
Adoptive parents aren’t people with super-human ability to overlook and love more than other people are. We’ve had to address our own fears and lack of knowledge as we approached adoption. If we are humble and recognize that, perhaps we can actually help answer peoples questions and objections and assist them in gaining correct information. I’ve heard many people place adoptive parents on a pedestal. But honestly, sometimes adoptive parents can feed that perception. If you can be a parent in general, chances are you can be an adoptive parent too. All parenting is hard, sometimes heartbreaking, but often joyfully rewarding work. Different situations have their unique challenges, and while the specifics will look different depending on those circumstances, you need support for both, you need basic education for both, you need adjusted and realistic expectations for both, and you need faithful, sacrificial love for both. So don’t let the fact that you have questions and fears stop you from considering adoption as a viable option for adding to your family.
NOTE: I’m speaking in this post of adoption in general and the need to normalize it and not make it seem extraordinary and doable only for those whose love is “elite” or who struggle with infertility. Obviously there are children, particularly children from severely abusive backgrounds, as well as special needs children and babies born with drug addictions, who have exceptional medical and psychological needs. These children may require additional care and their adoptive parents may need more training and education. I’m not minimizing or ignoring those circumstances, just not dealing with them specifically in this post.
Thanks for sharing some of the BIG questions you face(d). I think most deal with those at some point in their journey.
I think for us one of the best things for helping us correct some of our misperceptions was educating ourselves. Attending informational meetings, reading, and discussing things with adoptive parents.
I often suggest to people the first step could be educating themselves. That way, even if they never adopt, they are better able to support those who do. 😉