What happens when your electronic GPS system doesn’t work? You have to rely on something else — maybe even something so antiquated as your inner guidance system. Remember what it used to be like to get somewhere by feel? You had to tune in to something within.
If you are or will be a parent by adoption or donor conception, you may want to consciously decide whether you will root your parenting inner guidance system in fear — or in love. The decision, consciously or unconsciously made — will have a profound impact on the rest of your life, and on the life of your child.
It’s a decision you’ll have to make again and again. This is why we are called on to cultivate mindfulness.
If regular old parenting takes courage, adoptive parenting takes super-courage. Did you know that the word courage comes from the same root as coronary? Ha — no coincidence!
Cuer (Old Fr), Cor (Lat) = heart. The heart as your parenting GPS.
From Fearful to Fearless in Adoptive Parenting
Here’s the fourth and final question I was asked by an audience member in a webinar I led earlier this year. The webinar was on openness in parenting via donor conception, which has a lot in common with parenting via traditional adoption. Once again, I’m encouraged the question came up, as it indicates that adoption professionals, embryo or otherwise, are grasping the WHY of true openness and ready to focus on the HOW.
Q: As an adoption professional, how can I assist waiting adoptive families to move from fearful to fearless?
I set out a few years ago to create such a guide. People living in adoption shared their stories with me and the result is The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption, which turned 2 years old this week. This post from my archives, ” ‘Real’ in Adoption and How it Splits Our Babies” offers a brief intro to shifting from an Either/Or mindset to Both/And heartset, which is one of the steps of moving from fearful to fearless. Thirdly, in the book there is a link to this audio exercise on mindfulness. Becoming more mindful about our own fears and motivations is a key part of resolving fear and becoming fearless as we parent via adoption.
Other resources I highly recommend to help adoption professionals and their clients better understand the openness (and the effects of closedness):
- Book: Adoption Therapy: Perspectives from Clients and Clinicians on Processing and Healing Post-Adoption Issues, an anthology edited by Laura Dennis, who is herself an adoptee
- Coaching: with LeAnne Parsons, also an adoptee
- Podcasts: Regular shows and archives from Adoption Perspectives Radio Show (courtesy the Family to Family Support Network)
- Blog: Judy M Miller, adoptive mom and blogger and author of What to Expect from Your Adopted Teen
- Blog: Kim Court, birth mom in an open adoption for 25+ years.
What do you think? How can people move from fearful to fearless in parenting? How can they continually orient their parenting decisions in their hearts rather than in their fears?
Other questions in this series:
- How can adoption professionals better explain the benefits of openness to clients who want to keep things closed?
- I know an adoptive mom who won’t give her boys information about their birth mom. What do you think?
- My 17 year old wants to go live with his birth parents. What should we do?
Image courtesy nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net