How many times have you heard a friend say “I wish I had known that before I started” or “I wish I knew then what I know now?” It’s a common sentiment and one that affects everyone. It is also an especially common one surrounding issues of adoption, because many people may not feel empowered to speak out and openly about concerns, crises, and questions. This blog aims to help address some of the most common “I wish I knew” moments, but you should also reach out to us or your local adoption service if you have more questions. No question is ever too small to ask!
Be Sure to Surround Yourself with Supportive People
While this advice may seem obvious to many of you, it is worth seriously thinking about before the big adoption day arrives. Sometimes as people go through a long process, they discover who the truly supportive people are in their lives. You may find that a particular friend is not calling as much or not as available, while someone else is always there for you. It is important to know who your supporters are and to ask them to be present. The more unconditional and loving support you have, the easier the process will be. Especially on big days.
Adoption is About Gain and Loss
This is just a part of the adoption process. There are gains in love, family, support, and much more. And there is loss, too, in family changes, grief, and time. Some adoptive parents report feeling grief for the birthmother or feeling the loss of the birthmother. Such emotions are natural and may be your experience. It is helpful to focus on the loss and the gain and to remember the beautiful love you and your family will experience.
Be Open to Questions from People
This is true especially with strangers and acquaintances. Most people ask questions because they are genuinely curious, not because they mean any harm. Some may be considering adoption themselves or know someone who is and it is easier for them to ask you about the process. Of course, if the questions take a negative turn then it is time to disengage and protect yourself and your family. But if you are willing to engage people and answer some questions, you just might encourage someone else to proceed with adoption.
Always Communicate Your Needs
While we want to believe that our family and friends can just read our minds – they can’t! You will find that people want to help, but they don’t know how. Or they don’t know the right questions to ask. So be sure and communicate what you need to your supporters. Be clear and make specific requests so that they can have a task to follow. If you need people there at the birth, ask. If you need people when you come home with your newly adopted child, ask. Your supporters will absolutely want to help, but it will be up to you to tell them how.