Adoption: Love Conquers All But Be Prepared for These Challenges
Parenting

Adoption: Love Conquers All But Be Prepared for These Challenges

by Clarke Illmatical

First time or experienced parents believe that love will conquer any issues associated with adopting their first child. Love will allow them to endure and persevere through the problems, but there are many things to consider when adopting. If you want to love the child, you’ll take the time to consider the factors involved, research, and consult other parents whose marriage is similar to yours.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some items parents should consider when they adopt, known issues that are associated with adopting and examples of parents who worked through the problems they had.


Your Adopted Child’s Emotional Baggage

Love conquers all. That is what Amanda Boorman, a mother who penned an article for The Guardian thought. Although she had years of experience as a social worker, she was unprepared for the emotional baggage and trauma her daughter had accumulated when she came into her life the age of five. The emotional problems were so severe, that her daughter had difficulty in school and this would eventually provoke the mother to take a risky but necessary move — contacting the birth parents regarding her daughter’s history. Once this information was provided it allowed Amanda to understand her daughter’s plight and together they worked through it.

Amanda’s story isn’t unique. Many parents who adopt children, they don’t understand that the child may have been exposed to significant trauma which is undetectable or not reported by many adoption agencies. Although most parents are able to weather the storms of adoption, many have resorted to “re-homing,” essentially giving up on the adopted child.

Why Do Many Adoptions Fail?

A Time.com article highlights two of the main reason many adoptions fail.

First, parents are not prepared for a child who has been traumatized in foster care. In addition, there is very little help for the parents.

The article also featured an example of Tina Traster, who adopted an eight-year-old child. Even though she received the child while it was a newborn, she was unaware of the problems and trauma the child suffered during prenatal stages. When the child got older, there were severe emotional and behavioral issues.

In this Youtube video, Traster spoke about problems she noticed…

“Just as a mother knows instantly if a child has an illness or disease, I think that I knew instantly that something was wrong, you couldn’t hold her, you couldn’t sooth her… she would not let me read to her, I couldn’t engage with her… the relationship only goes so far and there is a sort of invisible barrier and I couldn’t close that up. It took me a very long time before I felt that what was wrong, wasn’t about me.”

The parents, who are thinking about love, aren’t considering the system of abuse the child may have emerged from. During an episode of Moms On The Move, Sharon McGinely, an adoption advocate, described kids who are entering into the American foster care system “They’re just thrown away… they’ve been beaten, abused and left for nothing.”

Cultivating Love

When parents successfully move past the hurdles of the foster care system, they find themselves having to work on and cultivate love for their child. During a TheGuardian.com article, one mother explained that it takes time to love an adopted child. She said “With my sons, my love is set in stone. It’s that ‘die for you love’ that would never change, no matter what. With Cheri [adopted daughter] it’s a love that develops and grows. It’s more of a process than an absolute.”

Another mother in the article simply stated that the love of an adopted child doesn’t compare, regardless and the article also provided the example of a mother who adopted a four-year-old child and initially had no love for her at all.

A lack of love and bonding with their parents often leads to behavior problems in school and when acting with others. Many adopted children have parents who have worked really hard to have them and are focused on providing for them — however, the children don’t perform well in school. The adopted children were often reserved and reluctant to think independently.

Consider Your Adopted Child’s Needs

Parents should also consider their situation in respect to the child’s needs. Many gay and lesbian parents are outstanding people, however, there have been instances where children adopted by gay parents experience the difficulty of having children ridicule them, which can add to some insecurities they may already have. Lesbian and gay parents should inquire into their child’s school system and find out about sensitivity training.

The World is Not Colour Blind

Race is another factor when it comes to adoption. A couple featured on Time.com described the experience of a white couple who had difficulty helping their child persevere through racism. The article also emphasized that love doesn’t make the world colour blind. Parents will have to find ways to effectively talk about race if they consider transracial adoption.

Conclusion

Every situation will be unique. Parents enter the adoption process with love in mind, but they need to understand that there are problems beyond their hearts. Love will provide the foundation for parents to endure and exercise patience while they work through and understand the problems associated with adoption.


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About the Author
Clarke Illmatical
Clarke Illmatical is a writer from New York City. His work has been featured in The Amsterdam and Norwood News. In Asia, his work has appeared in The Phnom Penh Post, China Global Daily and eChinaCities.