Adopting a child can be an emotional roller coaster. With the social worker visits, background checks, and numerous phone calls, not to mention the many ups and downs of waiting for a child, you can feel overwhelmed.
Amidst all this, it’s refreshing to get a different perspective from someone who understands your stress. We’ve been there! Adoption sites, like this one, often focus on all the things you should do.
In an effort to lift some of the burden off your shoulders and decrease your stress, we are providing 4 things to avoid instead of adding to your list of “to do’s.”
Complaining is hard to resist, especially when you are hit with the unexpected during your adoption. But complaining can eat away at your attitude. Other people can misinterpret your complaining, assuming you don’t want to adopt. Staying positive is essential in your adoption journey. Here are some helpful suggestions when you’re tempted to give in to complaining:
- Share your burdens. One great way to resist complaining is to surround yourself with trusted friends or family who will listen to your fears, stresses and worries without judgement. They encourage, inspire and challenge you when you want to give up. Having the ability to share takes the burden off you so you’ll be less apt to complain.
- Journaling. Writing your thoughts in a journal can be a helpful way to get your emotions out. It’s a constructive way to vent without hurting anyone. Later when you read what you wrote, you’ll appreciate how far you’ve come. Just don’t journal on a social media site. Later, you may regret venting publicly.
- Prayer. Pouring out your heart to God is a great way to kill complaining. He knows what you’re going through and wants you to bring all your concerns to him. He can give you peace even in the hardest, darkest moments. Surprisingly, adoption is a word found in the Bible and Torah. Read these passages for God’s perspective and comfort when you’re feeling discouraged.
- Counseling. Counseling is another good option. Having a professional to talk with can help you gain perspective and see areas where you need to change. It’s sometimes good for couples to meet together with a counselor. Adoption reveals things in your heart you may not have realized were there. Feelings can come to the surface towards your spouse, so it’s good to talk with your counselor about these feelings rather than to stuff them down.
- Healthy habits. Believe it or not, eating well, exercising and sleep can help you stop complaining. Tiredness can skew your view of what’s going on around you. Good health provides you physical and mental energy so you can have a positive attitude throughout the adoption process.
A word of caution: Never complain to a birth mother about your infertility, a previous adoption loss or the adoption process. This can ruin your relationship with her and cause her to doubt your ability to handle her newborn child. She’s under a lot of stress, too. Your complaining may cause her to think she’s making the wrong decision.
2. Sound Desperate
If you can’t get pregnant or you’ve experienced miscarriage, it’s tempting to wonder if you’ll ever be a parent. You may have decided to adopt because you’ve been disappointed by all your broken expectations of parenthood.
Adoption professionals will tell you not go into the adoption process with a desperate need to be a parent. Thinking an adopted child will make your life complete is a heavy weight and responsibility to put on a child. Besides this, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment when things don’t work out the way you expected.
Avoid comments like:
- I deserve to be a parent.
- My life won’t be full until I have a child!
- A child is all I’m living for!
- My marriage will be better once we adopt a child.
Adopting a child is a wonderful experience, but don’t expect the child or birth mom to be completing your life’s dream. That’s not possible, plus it’s not why the birth mom is choosing adoption. She wants to provide her child the best possible life.
3. Judge birth mom
Avoid assuming anything about a birth mother or her situation. Many people have a stereotypical view of a birth mom as a 16-year-old who uses drugs and got pregnant with her boyfriend.
But this isn’t the case… these are regular women who want to make the best decision for their child. Don’t make the birth mom feel that you think less of her or her child because of her situation. Also, don’t assume this decision is a negative one for her. Good mothers choose adoption, mothers who love their children choose adoption. She’s making a positive decision at her own personal cost for her child. Respect her!
4. Try to control everything
Adoption can be a long, difficult process filled with unexpected twists and turns. You may feel that if you do everything right, things will go smoothly. But when you’re waiting to be chosen by a birth mother, many factors are outside your control. It can be simply a matter of waiting and trusting the adoption professionals. They prepare and equip you with accurate information based on their years of experience working with adoptive parents and birth mothers. So, follow the steps they give you, then relax.
Remember you can’t control everything and that’s okay!
We all like getting results. We work hard to get what we want. But sometimes the process is as important as the end result. A critical part of your adoption journey is what you need to do, but just as important is what not to do.
When you decide to avoid complaining, sounding desperate, judging the birth mom, and attempting to be in control of everything, you’re making a positive choice. You’re allowing the process to work in you. Adoption teaches you a lot about yourself, and can make you a better person in the midst of the adoption journey.