It’s pretty crazy how insecure most of us can be when we’re feeling vulnerable. But alas, so it is. As an adoptive parent who also has biological children, I can tell you honestly that I’ve always feared rejection from my adopted child, but just scoffed at my biological children when they implied that they didn’t like me. You know the stage I’m talking about—that obnoxious stage where they know everything and we, the parents, are idiots. When our adopted child would sneer, “I wish I was never part of this family,” it crushed me to the core. When our biological children would holler, “You’re mean, I can’t stand you,” I’d laugh and reply, “Well, you’re stuck with me.” But no worries. I muddled my way through those teenage years and am happy to report that all of our children outgrew that stage and I no longer fear rejection from our adopted child or roll my eyes at our other children (well, not often anyway).

But the fear of rejection doesn’t stop there. When our adopted child hit his early 20s and decided it was time to search for his birth family, I was no longer afraid that he would reject me. But I was really, really afraid that his birth mother would not be pleased with me. I was concerned that she’d see all my imperfections and be sad that she’d given him a life with me. I feared rejection from my son’s birth mother. Irrational? Well, hindsight tells me yes, it was an irrational thought. Nevertheless, that fear was very real.

So what’s to be done? I have just one suggestion: Own your thoughts and feelings, adoptive parents. Then rid yourselves of those negative ones. They serve no practical purpose. And your adopted children and their birth parents (no matter what they think of you) can’t actually make you feel that way. Your feelings are a choice. If it helps, remember my example and how ridiculous it ended up to be. My adopted son loved me the same way my biological children did. He said the same mean, stupid things, and he didn’t mean them. His birth mother was grateful and happy and satisfied. I think our situation is the norm, so please, take solace in that and move forward, throwing fear of rejection out the window never to be seen again!