Parenting Adopted Children
Many individuals who struggle with infertility or who wish to reach out to children without caretakers choose adoption to give themselves and that special child the amazing gift of such a close relationship. However, one may wonder, are there implications for parenting adopted children?
I believe that for adoptive parents, it is important to be aware of what makes your situation unique in comparison with those who are biological parents and to make sure that you act accordingly when considering those differences. For example, we all know of the importance of attachment in infancy. Therefore, if a child who is adopted is brought into a home with parents who are still struggling with the fact that they were infertile, this could essentially cause the parents not to bond with their adopted child and allow attachment the same way they could if they were emotionally healthy going into the new relationship. So making sure you are in the right frame of mind BEFORE going through the steps of adopting a child is vital to everyone’s health involved.
As an adoptive parent, you also need to be prepared to answer your child’s questions about where he/she came from and know how to discuss it with your child in the most appropriate and effective ways. With middle/late childhood, issues such as a child wanting MORE details about where they came from or what their biological parents were like may come up and as his/her adoptive parent, you also need to be prepared for your child to possibly develop mixed feelings over these issues while reassuring them that their emotions are normal and it’s okay to be angry, hurt, or confused over the issue.
Lastly, in adolescence, you may begin to see your adopted child reflecting more on their adoption in complex ways as they begin to explore their own identity. During this time, it is important for you, as an adoptive parent to understand your adolescent’s identity exploration and be patient with their individual identity search. No matter what occurs or any struggles that come your way - it is ultimately important to remember to love your adopted child unconditionally and show them a beautiful family life - just as any other child may be experiencing.