It’s good to want to work with an adoption agency who really supports their expectant mothers by providing them counseling services. But what about YOU, as a prospective adoptive parent?
While most of us get our required adoption education (if we happen to live in a state which requires it), I see value in taking it a step further. Just like expectant moms, we need to explore our own feelings about what it means to adopt a child and how we really, truly feel about it. It’s an emotional process, to say the least, and not for the faint of heart!
Getting support can help you work through your own fears around adoption (we all have them and the sooner you fess up, the better); can make sure you are really ready to move forward; and can help you see issues that may arise in the coming days, weeks, months and years. The more support we get up front, the more effective we will be as parents to a child brought into our lives through adoption.
Here are some things to think about, including thoughts and feelings with which you might be grappling:
- How do I feel about sharing the title of “mother” – what does that conjure up for me?
- Am I having a difficult time wrapping my head around the amount of money it will cost me/us to adopt?
- I’ve experienced a fall-through (maybe even more than one) – how can I move on? Can I trust the process moving forward?
- We aren’t getting chosen – we feel so rejected and not good enough.
- What if we don’t love this child as much as our biological child?
- My spouse isn’t fully on board, and I really want a child.
- Maybe I should just keep trying infertility treatments.
- If my child doesn’t look like me, what will that mean? How do I respond to questions, comments, and judgments? Is that fair to my child?
- My parents are upset and think we are going to have a lot of problems with our adopted child. How can I help them come around with their feelings?
- The waiting is killing me! I’m questioning everything and don’t know how to ‘just be.’ I’m so nervous.
- How and when do I tell my child about their adoption story?
…and all of this has come up BEFORE you adopt your child. You will experience these feelings and worries, as well as others before AND after you bring yo
ur child home and in the years ahead. Having someone you trust to reach out to in those times, is so important. Just as important is having a support system of other adoptive families that are going through their own adoption journey alongside you.
It’s important to work with a therapist / counselor / coach (the title may not be so important) who specializes in adoption, with at least a few years of adoption work under their belt. It’s not enough to just work with someone who can support general anxiety. They should know the right questions to ask and be familiar with how the adoption process works in order for you to receive the appropriate support you need. The important thing is to work through your feelings up front and really face your own truth about becoming an adoptive parent.
For recommendations on who to call, ask your agency or adoption consultant for recommendations.