My therapist has challenged me to write about my drive to be the perfect parent because our children are adopted, both from the standpoint of feeling like they are gifts and that I owe it to our children's BP's given that they have entrusted their children to our care. I also feel like I do not have the right to complain or vent about the difficulties of motherhood because of the above.
I was wondering how other AP's feel about it so I can get a idea if my feelings are off-base.
Do any of you feel this way and how do you deal with it?
I think many of us feel the pressure. Many comments from well-meaning friends/family (What do you mean you need a night off? You ASKED for this baby!!) go a long way to make us feel, well, inadequate at times.
We started an adoption support group and now that pressure is less. There are people in the group who have done this a lot longer than we have, and some that are behind us. It's nice to see that others support you. Others make you feel "normal."
Find a group. Find support. Because no matter how much people love you, unless they have experienced adoption, they cannot totally get it.
Alabama is right. Find a support group. I was invited to a meetup group of aps and paps. I have a couple different fb groups of amoms whom I've met along the way. There are definitely some different issues and challenges and support is great.
I don't think your feelings are abnormal but will cause you anxiety. Someone posted an article a while back on "good enough" parenting that really spoke to me. There is not one perfect parent in the world...and we can learn more from the "mistakes" we all inevitably make.
I am sure you are a great mom...give yourself a pat on the back!
I used to feel that way and then my kids became teenagers.;)
Just Kidding...the perfection started wearing off before that.
Now it mostly comes up when something happens where a non aparent would question their parenting to a point, but I add all the rest and throw in the adoption sink too. And like the PP's I have a group of friends who are aparents that set me straight and remind me to take off my Wonder Woman cape. lol.
Guilt and the pressure to be more is definitely something I think a lot of aparents, particularly amoms wrestle with. I don't know how it lessens other than through time and finding ways to forgive yourself when you mess up. In my case, it might just be that as the kids got older and they could communicate more of their feelings and share what they really thought about things, it showed me that they really were ok. That whatever issues we had, they are still OK, and it was me projecting in some ways because I was trying so hard to be that good adoptive parent so in tune to their kids needs on all things adoption. That's pressure I put on myself and boy! SO GLAD to be rid of that one. LOL!
I'm sorry you are struggling with this - it's a hard one for sure and I totally empathize! It gets really does!
Hi Zeke,
It might surprise you to know that many women who placed a child prior to parenting have these same issues. Many of us were told the tired old lines (that are still used today) by relinquishing we were "giving our child a better life". Less than two years after relinquishing my son, I had my daughter (different dads...such a stereotype! Lol!). My second daughter came 3 years later. I struggled with the idea of perfection and trying to prove that I was a fantastic parent. The pressure I put myself and my husband under makes the high-pressure job I'm in now seem like a tea party!
Crick is right...give yourself a break and the perfection does wear off. By the time they're teenagers, you'll happily make tons of mistakes! BTW, I didn't feel like I could complain for several years either! Finally one day my husband took me away for a day, sent me in for a massage and then over a beautiful dinner he said, "you need to let some of this stuff out! I'm worried you're going to blow!" I was still wound tight, but the conversation and "permission" to stop over doing helped.
It's funny, because my brother and his wife adopted as well. They didn't let anyone keep their son for 3 years because they felt he was "their responsibility and they needed to be there." They were exhausted!! Our son was in ICU for 2 weeks. Once home, my mom begged to let her have him one night a week to give us a quiet night. (He is 3 now and STILL spends a night a week with her!! ;) ) My SIL told another family member that I didn't appreciate my son (also adopted!) or else I wouldn't make my mom practically raise him.
Look, we get it from all sides. (we meaning all involved with adoption) I feel so blessed to be able to grow my relationship with my husband and have a date night. My mom and dad are close to 70. Healthy, happy, active people. But they won't be here forever. I'm glad I'm strong enough (in this at least) to allow my parents the joy of spending time with him while they can.
NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO AS A PARENT, YOU WILL BE JUDGED BY OTHERS. Do what if right for your child, your family, and let the rest roll off.
Alabama - I totally agree!! My son spends one weekend a month with my parents. He is the only grandchild and they adore him. Selfishly, yes - it does mean that my wife and I get one child-free weekend a month to have complete conversations and watch movies that are not animated or about fairies. I think that's healthy. :) But it also means that my son has a strong relationship with other adults who love him dearly and my parents get the joy of spending lots of time with him. That's a win, win, win in my book!
I also feel the pressure to be perfect. Particularly when interacting with school. My DJ has had his behavioral issues, which can make any parent feel a bit defensive. So I probably do try to overcompensate. And also, because it is obvious that DJ is adopted, I'm aware of the fact that some people see us as less than "real" parents. So I probably work too hard to show that I'm a loving, involved mom.
NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO AS A PARENT, YOU WILL BE JUDGED BY OTHERS. Do what if right for your child, your family, and let the rest roll off.
Yes! And I second (or 3rd? Or 4th?) the suggestion to find a group. An AP in town started an adoptive families facebook page orginally for the purpose of getting together for play dates-which we do, but it now also includes a monthly mom 's night out where we go to dinner and get to be adults for an evening. We can commiserate over parenting issues, share ideas on how to handle adoption related questions, etc. it helps to have a group of folks who get it...
Does anyone know of a good listing of AP support groups. From what I see online, it does not appear that there is one nearby.
It would help me, too, if someone knows where to find good local support groups. Its hard to find any that have more than one or two members. That's all I seem to find using anyway...
Zeke and Mom, did you guys use a local agency? I am wondering if you have gone to any post-adoption events (I know some agencies have picnics, seminars, etc.). My meetup group was pretty small when I joined...but it has grown! Even meeting one or two other APs irl can be helpful. Good luck!
Ours was a private adoption as well. Since there is NOTHING like a support group of any kind near us, I went to my pastor and asked if we could have the church support to start one. We sent out FB alerts to the other local churches, set up a meeting and BOOM, 5 months later we are 6 couples strong that are in all phases of adoption, all kinds, AND have an adult adoptee, a few counselors, a few agency workers that volunteer to come and speak. We have become really close and love the support we get. We have youth from church come and provide free childcare, we take turns supplying meals. AND we have a private adoption support FB page to keep up with each other during the month. GREAT encouragement!!
No, our agency is about 2 1/2 hours away. May have to look at starting our own through our church as well. That's a great idea!
I was sooo glad to see this post - just knowing it isn't just me is helpful. We are still in the middle of our adoption, (WaitingOne is still not here) and my husband works out of town 24 days on and home for 4...although last rotation was 6 weeks.
I feel guilty leaving DramaMama with a sitter, have only done so maybe 4 times, my parents are busy dealing with my mom's dementia and my sisters mental health issues, so that isn't a back up. I even feel guilty dropping her at Girl Guides for an hour! And this is my bioD!!...and when I feel stressed or angry about something, or am at the end of my rope - I feel guilty about the adoption and maybe I am not meant to adopt and not good enough of a mother to have two! and then I think about the idea that I have always wanted 3 - and it spirals again.
Hmmm, sounds like I may also be a candidate for a support group...luckily I have a couple of friends who have this struggle too - perhaps we should get more organized...(oops, sorry, more guilt LOL)
Ours was started by a woman who just started a Facebook page of a local group and posted a Facebook message asking all of her friends to share with anyone they knew who were or had adopted or are biologically a multiracial family. There are about 20 families now-all stages. We regularly have about 6 moms at mom's night out and 6 to 8 families at a play date.