Over on the Adoptive Parenting blog, I have kicked off a series today about adoption regrets. Over the next several posts on that blog, I will discuss various regrets that adoptive parents might have about their adoptions and provide advice about how to heal those regrets.
I strongly suggest that all hopeful adoptive parents follow that series so they can avoid making the same mistakes that other adoptive parents have made. When you are waiting to adopt a child and desperately want to become a parent, it can be easy to make compromises that you would not otherwise make. The problem is that you will be living with the aftermath of those choices for the rest of your life or at least until your child is an adult.
I will be discussing various areas of adoption regret, such as the level of openness in an adoption and health risks. In most cases, the regrets arise out of two mistakes – failing to fully educate yourself and making compromises.
As human beings, we often find comfort in doing things the way they have always been done. Because open adoption is relatively new and not something that is mainstream, many hopeful adoptive couples refuse to educate themselves about the benefits and, instead, take a stance that only a closed adoption is right for them. I know this because I was one of them.
Educating yourself about all of the options does not commit you to changing your mind. After you weigh out the costs and benefits of each level of openness, each health risk, or any other aspect of adoption, you can still go back to your original stance. The difference is that you will have made an informed decision rather than a knee-jerk one.
Refusing to Compromise
Be wary whenever you are asked to compromise on a position that really matters to you. Do not allow family, friends, or on-line buddies to pressure you into any situation that you do not feel ready to take on. Never let anyone guilt you into adopting an older child out of foster care if you do not feel ready to begin your parenting with a child who is old enough to talk back. Do not adopt a child with a special need that you do not feel capable of handling. Your family, friends, and on-line buddies are not the people who will be living with this child and this arrangement for the next 18 years.
While it is okay to listen to advice from different people, it is ultimately you who must make decisions about what is the best arrangement for your family. The adoption arrangement must be right for you. Decide what is right for your family, and do not compromise on those issues that matter the most.
Photo Credit: Lynda Bernhardt