When an adopted child first comes into your home, the joy and excitement the little one brings is magical. There is nothing like that euphoria. You fall in love.
However, when the child’s health or behavioral challenges surface, an adoptive parent’s imagination can easily drum up dark fears. While a birth parent worries about the child’s issues, as an adoptive parent you may worry about the issue plus the known or unknown history of the adoptee’s background.
You may even hear the haunting voice from a family member or friend who was against your adoption: “Why adopt? You don’t know what that child has in her background.”
This is when you must stay strong.
Separate the facts from fiction. Your egoic-mind will try to send you on a whirlwind of worry, but you must only look at the issue presenting itself, without adding a story.
For example, if your child throws a tantrum, your mind may imagine that his temper may get worse as he gets older because someone in his biological family has a psychological disorder. Maybe my child has this disorder too.
Deal only with what is in front of you. Dwelling on your imagined story creates more stress and takes away the energy you need to deal with the challenge. You can’t think with a clear mind if it’s clouded with worry about something that you don’t know to be true.
My mind won’t let me rest.
The best way to deal with any fear is to look at it. Suppressing or ignoring a fear only makes the energy stronger.
Thoughts are energy. When a fear surfaces, ask yourself, “Is this true?” If it’s not, let it go. That same fear may come back a number of times, but if you just keep looking at it, instead of running from the fear, you will find that it weakens to the point of dissolving altogether.
Some people find it helpful to keep a journal and write out their fears. This serves as a great tool to look at the fear, and to get it out of you. Keeping a journal about your feelings is a wonderful therapy to help you along the adoption journey. Just be careful not to let it fall into your child’s hands. They may not understand that your fears have nothing to do with them.
Remember, your child is extremely sensitive. Many adoptive children are super-intuitive because they have been in various placements. Out of survival, they know how to read the people in charge. If you come unhinged, your child could become anxious and maybe act out this uncomfortable feeling they are too young to understand.
Be gentle with yourself, and stay calm. Have confidence that you and your family can work through whatever you are facing with ease.
Written by Janet Alston Jackson