Adoption can be a wonderful event filled with love and hope, but that doesn’t mean it is always like that. There are a lot of parts of adoption that can bring up strong and painful emotions and at times make life feel unnecessarily difficult.
There are a lot of decisions to be made in the adoption process, but one thing everyone can agree on is that they want what is best for the adoptee.
Challenges You May Face as an Adoptive Family
As adoptive parents you will find that parenting an adoptive child comes with its own challenges, so don’t be afraid to look for support in helping your child live a happy and fulfilled life. Some challenges you may face as an adoptive family include:
- The adoptee experiences trouble with identity. Open adoptions are increasingly more common, and help to eliminate this challenge in most adoptive families. If you maintain a relationship with the adoptee’s birth parents, they can easily learn more about where they come from and can even ask any questions they have to their birth parents directly. If the adoption was closed, you might try to help the adoptee find information about their history. Additionally, you may want to consider seeking out resources that could help your child feel less alone in their situation, such as a therapist who specializes in adoption or an adoption support group.
- The adoptee feels grief and sorrow. These are painful emotions, and an adoptive parent may feel guilty or hurt over these feelings from an adoptee about their adoption. It is important to remember that adoption is a complicated process that brings up a wide range of emotions. Your child may already be struggling with these feelings because they worry it makes them disloyal to you as the adoptive parent, so make sure to validate their feelings and tell them it is okay to experience grief over the birth family they have lost.
- A bond or parent/child attachment may not come naturally. This is especially common for children who are adopted at an older age or who have experienced trauma before their adoption. Try to be patient and remain consistent in your efforts. You may find resources such as support groups, adoption therapists, or online forums helpful.
Never Be Afraid To Ask For Help
If you are struggling as an adoptive parent, there are a number of resources that you can reach out to for help. Consider the following:
- Adoption Therapists: Whether you are wanting counseling for just the adoptee or the whole family, adoption therapists are a great way to seek out support for discussing adoption-related issues.
- Adoption Support Groups: These groups exist for adoptees, adoptive parents, or the adoptive family collectively. There are even groups for specific types of adoptive cases, such as interracial adoption. Going to an adoption support group is a great way to meet people that have similar experiences.
- Online Websites and Forums. There is an extensive amount of written resources available to adoptive families on adoption agency websites and other online forums. This is a great place to start if you are not ready to pursue in-person help yet.
No matter what, adoptive parents need to remember that adoption is complex and wrought with strong and difficult emotions, and there is no shame in asking for help to ensure that your family is happy and healthy.