All parents have dreams for their children and are capable of influencing the person that their child becomes. It can be devastating when the dreams that you have for your children cannot be fully realized and the circumstances are beyond your control.
Parenting is not an easy job, but adopting a child often adds another level of challenges. Sometimes children who have been adopted have experienced trauma because of abuse and neglect, multiple placements, or have spent time in an institutionalized care setting.
The sum of those experiences can lead to challenges down the road that no parent could ever truly anticipate. If can feel like your world is being turned upside down. Adoptive parents are certainly not the only ones who experience these feelings. But it can feel like there is more pressure on you and that you are held to higher expectations as an adoptive parent.
While you were going through the process of adopting, you had to prove yourself over and over again. First, that you were safe and capable to parent, and then that you and your family would be a good match for your child. Hopes were high and the anticipation of being approved for adoption and growing your family was exciting. When you child is finally in your home and part of your family, it’s such a relief to start to create normalcy for the family.
Families may spend months in the honeymoon period, during which it may feel as if the transition is progressing well. So, it can be surprising to be met with additional hurdles to overcome even several years later, especially when these challenges need to be met outside of your home.
What Can You Do?
Call early and often! When you need help, reach out. When agency staff approved your home study, they didn’t expect you to have all the answers and be able to take care of anything that comes up without assistance. Reaching out for help early on will allow you and your child to take advantage of the most opportunities available to you. Take advantage of the Post Adoption Resource Center in your area. For a list of centers, visit our website, postadoptccyf.org.
If you are working with a therapist or another service provider and there doesn’t seem to be improvement, trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to ask your therapist for a referral to another provider who has a different style or who uses different techniques.