Sometimes I Feel Inadequate as a Hopeful Adoptive Parent

. . . especially when talking to expectant parents.

Kenna Shumway March 07, 2016
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If I were to ask those of you who are hopeful adoptive parents if, at any time in your journey, you have felt inadequate, I have a feeling you’d answer “yes.”

There are a lot of reasons why I’ve felt inadequate as a hopeful adoptive parent. In fact, I’m fairly certain that I could write hundreds of articles on this topic.

My first thought was that I’ve felt inadequate because I am not physically capable of carrying a child and the expectant mom is. That, for some reason, this makes me “less than.”

My second thought was how inadequate I felt while trying to explain why I wanted to be a parent and why expectant parents should consider me and my husband. How could I possibly convey my heartfelt intentions without coming across desperate or baby greedy when many hopeful adoptive parents are portrayed that way?

Most of all, as an adoptive parent, I feel that no matter what I say and do, I will never be adequate at expressing how thankful, how happy, and how much I love my son’s birth parents.  Our journey to adopting our son was born from a long battle with infertility, which is full of its own feelings of inadequacy. Then, when we pursued adoption, I was talking to expectant parents who were in a place where they might feel inadequate to raise their child. It’s like polar opposites and you are trying to connect across that big divide.

I can guarantee that as hopeful adoptive parents, you will feel inadequate. And that’s okay. I think it fosters humility. I think it can push us to be better humans. However, I also know it can break us down and cause us to shrink away from experiences that can make so much more of our lives than we ever could. Even when you feel like your sense of inadequacy will swallow you whole, remember that expectant parents are not immune. No one is immune.

Even five years later, I am still trying to find adequate ways to express my feelings of gratitude.  I feel like one cannot simply say, “Gee, thanks!” when someone GIVES YOU A CHILD.  However, I do know that my son’s birth mom also feels inadequate to say, “Gee, thanks!” to us for raising her son. One of the best ways I can say, “Thank you” is by loving my son and raising him to be a good, kind, loving young man and remembering that the road to adopting Harley has made me so much more than I could have been without it.

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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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