Welcoming a new baby in your home is both one of the most exciting and scary times in your life! It's common and normal to have these same fears when walking through the adoption journey. You've dreamt of this moment for months, maybe even years! And yet you're full of angst and concern. Don't worry! What you are experiencing is common and normal!! There are tons of resources available for adoptive families! In this blog post we discuss some of the most common adoption fears for new adoptive families.
What if I don't know how to talk to my child about his adoption?
As adopted children grow, they may experience feelings of grief and loss about their family, country, or culture of origin, regardless of how old they were when they were adopted and whether or not they have a memory of where they were born. While these feelings often don't kick in until age 7 or 8, when kids start using their "thinking brain," you'll find it much easier to talk about them if you've been open about the adoption from the very beginning. Develop a family narrative, emphasizing that some people become part of a family through marriage, others through birth, and others through being adopted. As your kid gets older, or if she is older when you adopt, talk about her birth family and culture. Tell her, for instance, "You have an amazing singing voice, you must get that from your birth mom." Normalizing the topic helps the child understand that if they're a little sad about their story, they can talk about it!
What if people in my community aren't accepting of our transracial family?
Even if you live in what you believe to be an accepting family and community, be prepared to counteract prejudiced or racist questions or comments that your adopted child might hear, such as, "Where are the real parents?" Whether a remark is racially motivated or coming out of ignorance, what's important is that your answer convey the message you want your child to hear. Validate by saying, 'I'm the real parent -- you must mean his birth family." Seeing you take a stand and be proactive signals that you understand the gravity of what your child might be feeling, and helps him or her develop the tools needed to problem-solve. It also helps to create an advocacy for adoption and push out negative adoption language.
Will the child have special needs?
At the beginning of the adoption process, you'll be asked whether you're open to adopting a child with special needs (although not considered special needs, you may also be asked whether you're open to adoption a child that has been exposed to drugs and/or alcohol). You can prepare yourself to answer this by researching what is involved in caring for these children. If you've been chosen by a birth mother to adopt an infant, think about how you'll move forward if the child turns out to have special needs, whether at birth or later in life. "Even when you give birth to a baby, you don't know what the child's exact needs will be," professionals says. "Every parent should have some exposure to the learning-disabilities spectrum."
What if the birth parents change their mind?
If you've been chosen by a birth mother to adopt the baby she's expecting, you may worry that she'll have a change of heart. While this isn't common, it can happen. The best way to avoid heartbreak is to work with a reputable adoption agency like Adoption Choices of Florida and encourage the birth parents to take advantage of pre-adoption counseling. Birth mothers who choose to work with ACFL have thoroughly considered their decisions and usually partake in pre-adoption counseling with professionals.
How do I find the right professional if I need help
If you decide that anyone in your family needs help coping with fears or other emotions about the adoption, contact your adoption specialists or social worker. We can recommend additional professionals -- such as a psychologist or psychiatrist who are experienced in adoption issues. Know that we are always here to help throughout your entire adoption journey.