This past year, as parents have shared their adoption stories with WACAP, many have included advice they’d like to share with other families. They’ve offered their thoughts to those waiting to welcome their children home and those newly considering adoption, as well as to adoptive parents who may be experiencing challenges. Here, you’ll find a short collection of that advice, words of encouragement, plus a few simple, but important reminders from their journeys.
Lesson learned during the adoption process?
It’s important to lean on those around you. Just asking someone important to you to be a resource when you need them; that’s important to do, for you and for them.
Any “rough patches” and how did you approach them?
Adoption is a process and it’s a journey. It’s one that’s so exciting and so fun, where others are excited for you, too, but where there are also the harder moments along the way. After the goodwill, momentum and expectation, those lows can feel like feel like failure. I remind myself still that anticipation, momentum, and joy are just one side of a journey; inevitably there will be the need for rest, support, and healing along the way.
How do you make time for you after adopting?
Take advantage of the support that’s out there. I learned that there are a number of resources for adoptive families, for parents of children with disabilities, and for foster/adoptive families. If you don’t know where to start, ask your adoption agency about resources they provide or can share. Check with your state and community too. From support groups, family resources and local services to respite care, there are supports that can make all the difference for you and your family.
Something easier said, than done?
I wish I would have been more patient with the process. It’s now that I can look back and see that the time spent through the process was helpful in preparing me for my adoption, and for the unknowns I’d face later. It’s really difficult to feel that way in the midst of the wait, and while the focus was on getting through “the process.”
Your first lesson learned?
After our son came home, we experienced him getting upset … for reasons we didn’t know and that he couldn’t communicate in a way we understood. Figuring out why he was upset, and figuring out what to do: This was new to us. We had expected ourselves to have it all figured, and we didn’t. We don’t. Give yourself permission to not have it already figured out.
What didn’t you know?
We didn’t know if, or when, our child was responding to trauma or difficult memories from his past. That was difficult. Remember that you might not know what’s behind your child’s behavior, or whether trauma from their past is playing a role in their behaviors. You might not know something like that, but you can look to others to support you (your social worker, an adoption counselor or therapist), so ask for help. We got support to help us learn how to respond in the best way, without adding to the trauma our son had experienced.
A simple reminder everyone needs?
Find someone to listen. Maybe it’s just being able to talk, and asking someone to listen that will make a difference for you in the moment you need it.
WACAP is a champion for children, finding and preparing permanent families, and offering lifelong support after adoption.
If you have questions about adopting, email us firstname.lastname@example.org. If your family needs support after adoption, please contact us at email@example.com.