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gps for parenting via third-party reproduction

What’s Your Parenting GPS?

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.

But what?

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.

gps for parenting via third-party reproduction

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):

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:

Image courtesy nuttakit at


This post is also part of #Microblog Mondays. What’s that? A post that is not too long. Head over to Stirrup Queens to join the fun.

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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13 Responses

  1. Honestly, I think a lot of what you’re talking about here applies to all parents. Mindful parenting and embracing openness is important for every child. That said, I absolutely agree that being an adoptive parent requires super-courage. You’re opening your heart to a whole family, not just a child, when you adopt and fear is a natural response. Still, it’s important to be open and embrace.

    Thanks for these amazing resources!

  2. Coming from a non-parenting perspective, I think moving from fearful to fearless is important not only in parenting, but in life in general. We can lose so much by being fearful – in fact, quite often our actions that are driven by fear actually create the situation we’re afraid of in the first place. We drive away those we want to hold close, we become more afraid when we’re trying to keep someone (or ourselves) safe, etc etc. I think you might have prompted a post … I’m off to think some more.

  3. I agree with Mali – fear is both a frequent motivation and stumbling block in our lives – whether it relates to parenting or anything else. Taking a realistic view of risks and potential outcomes is important in easing anxiety in every situation. Once you’ve examined “the worst that could happen” and what the likelihood of that occurring is, you often have the power to move past it.

  4. I am not a parent via adoption or donor gametes (tho we came close), but I still thought about your questions because I am typically a fearful person, but I really don’t want to be an (overly) fearful parent. I don’t have any answer really though except “act like the person you want to be” (and then maybe one day you will feel that way too). Oddly I haven’t been very anxious or fearful of a parent so far. But I don’t know if that’s something about me or we are just lucky to have a child who (so far) usually makes us feel like we know what we’re doing, whether that’s true or not.

    1. Perception is reality, no? Whether you ARE doing things right or she makes you FEEL you are isn’t the effect the same?

      I do think parenting can bring on a bravery we may not have known we had before. It takes energy to fearful, and babies take a lot of energy!

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