Hello, this question is for adoptees. I didn't want to ask this on the parents board as relevant responses would be limited.
I've always loved kids. For a long time I really didn't want to have children, I grew up in an abusive home. That morphed into not wanting to have biological children. Well here I am with 2 biological children. That being said, I still think about adopting. I've always worked with kids, currently working w special needs, and there are always kids that I really feel I could adopt, like literally take home and immediately fall into a mothering role.
The thing that stops me is the feeling that I'm somehow contributing to someone's trauma. Understandably, even the best adoptions include a loss for the adoptee. I know what it feels like to essentially be abandoned and I wouldn't want to do anything to increase someone's feelings of trauma. That being said, there are children who need parents, and parents wanting to adopt.
What can an adoptive parent do to foster the most loving and healthy relationship possible? Are all adoptions likely to result in feelings of trauma, or can that be somehow avoided?
Hi Michelle,
I’m so glad you have a heart for adopting. It sounds like you are already a great mother. Don’t think of it as you contributing to an adoptee’s trauma. We come with trauma. I highly doubt there are any exceptions. It’s not that adoption includes loss, but before being adopted, we were lost. Our birth parents gave us up for one reason or another, and no matter how honorable the reason was, it is still painful to know that someone who birthed you could give you up. It makes me feel unwanted. And I know my adoptive parents wanted me and they love me, but that does not cancel the pain of being unwanted by my birth parents.
Like you said, there are children who need parents and you want to be that parent. That sounds like a perfect combination to adopt a child. Just know that it will be a challenge. Parenting already seems like an impossible job and add on immeasurable pain from before being adopted and you will be sure to get a challenge. The challenge might surprise you, and the child is perfect. But she is hiding the pain. She has stuffed it way way down because she can’t deal with the pain yet. At least that is what I did. But now everything is bubbling to the surface. It takes time. I wasn’t ready to grieve all of my pain until recently. And it will forever be a part of my story, but one day I want to be proud of being adopted. The best thing you can do is meet the child where they are at. Remind them that they don’t have to earn your love. Tell them how proud you are of them for who they are, not for what they do. Encourage them to express all of their emotions. Help them to feel safe showing all of themselves to you even the sad, broken-feeling parts. Let them cry, but once they are spent, be ready to wrap them in your love. Remember that if they are angry with the world, with you, etc it is because deep down they are in pain. They may try to push you away. They may try to test you to see if you will leave just like their birth parents did. Try to love them through it all.
I wish the best for you! And I would love to know what you decide to do.