Adoption is full of unexpected situations. When you’re an adoptive parent, you’ve spent plenty of time combing over every piece of information that’s available. You’ve educated your friends and family about what they should expect to happen during the adoption. And, with the help of your adoption specialist, you’re probably feeling pretty certain that you’re ready for everything this adoption journey could throw at you.
So today, we’re going to share with you six things that no one tells you about adoption. No matter what type of adoption you’re thinking about pursuing, we hope you learn something that you didn’t know before.
1. You’ll Meet Some Amazing People
It’s so important to find a tribe of people who get you. While your family and friends will be there to support you every step of the way, it’s just as important to make connections with other adoptive parents, too. You’ll have the opportunity to speak freely with no judgement, and you can ask for their input and advice.
If you’re looking for an adoption community near you, you’ve got plenty of options. There are in-person and online support groups available for every type of adoption. If you need any help getting started, don’t forget that you can always reach out to your adoption specialist for more information.
2. You Might Have a Hard Time Bonding
You’ve probably been eagerly anticipating your child’s arrival for months or even years. But, after placement, you might notice that the bonding process is tougher than you expected. Yes, you’ve finally become the family that you’ve always dreamed of, but, for some parents, it might take some time for that to truly sink in.
If you’ve adopted a child internationally or through foster care, the bonding process might be even harder. Every child placed into the foster care system has experienced some form of trauma. International adoptees will likely have a hard time fitting in and feeling like they’re part of the family.
Before you adopt, make sure to read up on helpful tips for bonding with your new addition.
3. Not Everyone Understands Adoption
Although your friends and family will be excited about your adoption plans and might even have some prior knowledge about how this process works, the same can’t be said for everyone else. Many people have their own preconceived notions about what an adoption or what your relationship to the birth parents should look like or what each type of adoption is really like. Sometimes, you might even be met with harsh criticism or judgement.
4. You Will Have Mixed Feelings When Your Child is Born
One of the happiest days of your life will be one of the most painful memories for someone else. As an adoptive parent, you might experience unexpected feelings of sadness and guilt as you watch your child’s birth parents say good-bye. While that guilt might not go away, the best thing you can do is try to be the best parent you can be. And, of course, please remember to honor your child’s birth parents every day of your life as a parent.
5. Your Adopted Child will be Different — and That’s Okay!
Your child will be their own person. Know that some adoptees struggle with feeling like they’re part of the family or like no one understands them. So, please don’t go into adoption thinking that your child will turn out exactly like you, even if you’re the one who is raising them. Remember to celebrate all the little things that make them unique.
We’d also like to mention that your extended family should be just as supportive of the adoptee as you are. We know that most of your support will come from your immediate family, but everyone else should be just as excited as you are. It’s your responsibility to ensure your child’s family environment will be a healthy and supportive one.
Even if your friends and family are not as knowledgeable about adoption, there are still plenty of ways that they can get involved.
6. Every Relationship will be Different
There are plenty of guides for what your relationship with the birth parents might look like, whether you’re fostering or adopting. But, the advice you read won’t apply to every situation. Each person has their own needs that need to be met. While you can try to stay prepared as best as possible, there are some things that you just won’t be able to predict. Accept that — and celebrate the differences that make your adoption story so special.
If you come across any other surprises, remember that you can always reach out to your adoption specialist. They would be glad to answer any questions that you have.