The adoption process is not for the faint of heart. It requires big things of ordinary people. Running that gauntlet caused me to develop three new abilities, each which would eventually come in handy years later.
Lesson 1: Calm the Chatter
The Wait. I found all the doing of the adoption process to be the easy part. Get those fingerprints. Write those essays. Clean the house and host the homestudy appointments. Attend the classes and work up that adoption profile.
But when all the doing was over, the harder part started: doing nothing. Just waiting. Just sitting with all that anxiety over all the unknowns. Would it happen? How would it happen? Would something go wrong? How many things could go wrong? LET ME ENVISION ALL OF THEM.
My frantic mind, locked on a goal, got really good at conceiving of every possible thing that could go awry, monkey-chatter taking over as I moved through my days.
Question: Everyone says that adoption is different now than it was in previous eras.
Is it really? Is it actually different for adoptees? Even with open adoptions, the adoptee will still have to process all it means to be adopted. Are the adoptive parents really ready and willing to do this alongside their son or daughter?
I see posts from adoptive parents that show they can’t or don’t want to deal with issues of rejection or low self-esteem or the whys of adoption. They don’t say that, of course. Instead I see them congratulate themselves for helping their child stop feeling those feelings, but it seems to me that they’re really stopping the child from expressing those feelings.
The adoptee’s needs cannot be met when adoption is hyped as solely a positive event. Until parents treat it as a neutral fact of how they build their family, and until they deal with their own stuff and acknowledge the complexity of adoption, the adoptee experience is not much changed.
Really. Tell me how adoption is different these days.