There are several reasons why today’s parents turn to adoption. Whatever your reasons may be, it is important to really inform yourself properly, weigh the pros and cons and make sure that you have considered all the possibilities before making that big decision that will bring its share of changes, joy and disappointments.
A reflection is in order
It must be said that deciding to adopt a child should never be a last resort solution. You must try to see this as a positive experience and be at peace with your new reality as our perceptions often influence how we will react to the obstacles that will inevitably follow. Therefore we have to see adoption as a choice made after exhaustive research.
One of the most important questions you must ask yourself when considering adoption is whether you think you will be able to love that child as if you gave birth to him. You have to be honest with yourself and really think about the impact of his arrival in your family as you will not be able to return him to the store like a common gift you didn’t like when he makes a mistake.
Developing a bond
According to Diane Quevillon, psychologist specialized in adoption, it’s entirely normal for parents to question their capacity to take charge of a child who will have had a difficult start in life and who will have to adapt to a new life. They will also have to adapt to this child and will have to measure their capacity to go from the image of the dream child to the reality of the adopted child.
This can be influenced by the fact that parents themselves could have had a hard time developing a bond that will make it so they will have more difficulty adapting when they welcome a new person in their life. It is important to admit that it is part of the adaptation process and you should not hesitate to consult a professional if you wish to get further help and advice.
Expectations and disappointments
It should also be noted that the child will have his own personality and in the case of older children, will potentially have very heavy emotional baggage that you will need to address by providing a lot of support, guidance tailored to his needs and naturally, intense love. Remember that you might be unable to understand his reality, but by taking all the necessary steps to help him move past it, it is possible to develop a beautiful relationship.
Dr. Quevillon indicates « Parents should take in consideration their child’s past and remember that the crucial moments in his life have been spent in potentially difficult conditions that could influence his way of relating to other people and to himself. They must therefore foster the adaptation of this child by making him feel secure and teaching him how to trust himself and others. »
The family unit
If you have other children, you will have to prepare your children for the arrival of a stranger who will change their routine and will likely create insecurity in their pre-established views of their own life. « Will mom love me as much? Will dad prefer his new kid? »
You will need to reassure them and remind them that even if the child will need much support to create their own place within your family, it really doesn’t affect the love you have for them. One of the things you can do to facilitate adaptation is to encourage your kids to help you welcome the child by preparing his arrival and by talking openly about your feelings together.
Dr. Quevillon reminds parents that they must make sure their children understand that adoption is an adult project that can be shared by a child that is excited to meet his new sibling, but that remains a desire from the parent to see their family grow.
Reactions of other family members
You will also need to assess your ability to cope with the comments your loved ones might make and the judgments and misunderstandings of the people around you. It is human nature to question the unknown but it can be very unpleased to have to defend your choice. You will need to develop a thick skin and remember that this decision ultimately belongs to you and you must respect yourself.
Dr. Quevillon also suggests you try to invite your extended family to join you during the information meetings organized by the adoption agencies or to consult the services of the adoption associations so they can understand what you are going through and the steps you are taking.
If you are still undecided and would like to read a little bit more about the process of adopting a child, try to read about the myths and truths about international adoption. Call the resources in your area and ask moms who have done it on our forums!
The process is often long and arduous and it can be very scary for parents so we encourage you to seek help and to surround yourself properly in order to receive the support you need.