The “Best” Parents: A Reminder from WACAP’s US Kids Program Manager Beth Sayers
Every day, I have the privilege of talking with families seeking to adopt a child from US foster care. Single men and women. Couples. Experienced parents. Brand new parents.
Daily at WACAP, I get an incredible opportunity to share about a unique boy or girl in foster care, just waiting to join their family. And I talk to families who, once their child has come home, are learning how to grow together and to grow closer.
I know what an amazing difference a family makes for a child, and what the joy of a family brings. But, as in all families, there are always challenges, some unique to adoption and some just unique to being a family.
Here, as we celebrate adoption and National Adoption Month, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate our adoptive parents.
From waiting for a child to finally welcoming that child into their hearts and home, parents make an amazing commitment, though when they find they cannot be “the world’s most perfect parents,” sometimes they worry they’re doing something wrong.
I remind families every day, that whatever that they might be going through either now, or at some point in the future, chances are someone else has already struggled with it themselves or celebrated the same success.
And while there may not be any such thing as a “perfect parent,” by giving it their all, they’re learning about the specific, unique and maybe “imperfect” things about their child that let them respond to their children’s needs exactly as they need to.
That’s what Lea Grover suggests in her playful and satirical article “Dear Less-Than-Perfect Mom.” In it, she writes a mock letter to parents, saying at the end,
“You are definitely not perfect. And that’s good. Because really, neither is your child. And that means nobody can care for them the way you can, with the wealth of your understanding and your experience. Nobody knows what your child’s squall means, or what their jokes mean, or why they are crying, better than you do …. You’re not perfect. You are as good as anybody can get.”
That’s pretty good, she suggests. Actually, the best.