Adoptive Parent Decisions: How Could I Possibly Put My Son in Daycare?

Was I ruining my kiddo by not being a stay-at-home mom?

Kenna Shumway October 20, 2014
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After Harley came into our life via adoption, the plan was always for me to slowly pare down my hours at work and then become a stay-at-home mom. My husband had landed a great job that would allow me this luxury, and I was excited for the adventure I had waited so very long for.

We made a big decision to move in 2012 to Ohio, where Josh, my husband, would be starting his four-year career in pharmacy school at Northeast Ohio Medical University.  We were pumped and bummed all at the same time, but we knew it was the best choice for our family.

After the move, the decision remained that I would stay home with Harley Man while Josh studied himself dizzy. Six months into our residency in Ohio, I made a bold, and rather insane, decision to go back to school. I had a degree, but it wasn’t something I was interested in any more, plus it wouldn’t help me out in the real world. The hardest part about deciding to do something for yourself when a child is involved is, what about the child? What was I going to do with Harley?

I started school with an easy load of courses that allowed me to drop Harley off at a friend’s house for a few hours while I was at school. I also took night courses so Josh could be home with him during some of my classes. However, when Fall Semester showed up, we were out of ideas. I hated the thought of sending Harley to a childcare facility. C’mon, I’d waited over five years to be his mama, and I didn’t want to send him off while I was selfishly going to school. It worked out slightly in favor of my mom guilt, as he was preschool age at this time and it felt more like sending him to school than sending him to daycare. So we bought him a backpack, and you wouldn’t believe how excited he was. That eased the mom guilt as well.

The past summer had been beautiful. Harley and I spent days lying on the trampoline in the sun and nights catching fireflies on the edge of the forest behind our house. Ohio can be dreamy if you let it. When school time came around again, so did my guilt.  Was I ruining my kiddo by not being a stay-at-home mom? Was I being selfish because I wanted to better myself?

All right. Here’s where we stop, collaborate, and listen.

No one can tell you that daycare/childcare is bad.  Especially in the economy we have, there are more children in daycare than ever before.  Just because you adopt a baby doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to work, or go to school, or do something outside the home. However, if you made some sort of promise to the birth parents, that’s another story entirely, so I won’t discuss that now. I felt that making the choice to go back to school was worth the sacrifice of Harley going to daycare/preschool. I was Kenna before I was Mom, and although I love Harley more than anything in the entire cosmos, I know that bettering myself through this decision of attending school will be way worth the sacrifice of putting Harley into daycare.

When Harley’s birth mother found out I was going back to school, she pumped her fists for my decision and showed no worries about Harley going to daycare. She knew that Josh and I would do our research, and that Harley would be well taken care of either at home or at a child care facility.

It’s hard, I get it.  The mom guilt can be crushing.  What are we talking about?–the mom guilt is ALWAYS crushing. Seriously, though. Do your research, find a great facility (we are in love with Harley’s preschool facility; he likes it there more than he likes it at home.  If we pick him up before he has had recesses, he demands that we wait until he is done!)

Every mama wants what is best for her child. This includes adoptive mamas. If you feel that your child’s birth parents would have issues with such a decision, talk it out. There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself with schooling, or work to support your family. It’s all about what’s best for your family, so do what you have to do, my friends. No shame. No shame at all.

An adopted child shows off his craft from daycare.

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Kenna Shumway

Wife. Adoptive mom. Writer. Photographer. Endometriosis survivor, infertility warrior & adoption advocate. Rock star on weekends. Currently calls Ohio home with her pharmacist husband and their ginger son. Read more from her on her blog.


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