“We can help pave the roads of those around us, but we can’t choose their direction.” – Shri Rama
* You can listen to a recording of this post, just scroll to the end.
When you adopt, occasionally worry comes with it. How will my child feel about their adoption? Will they feel like I took them away from their birth family when the birth family’s the ones who chose to not stay in contact? When my child becomes a teenager will he hate me? Will my daughter know how much I love her?
We hear stories from other parents and adoptees about adopted people feeling like their adoptive families took them away from their birth family, they wish they’d had more contact with their birth family, or they turn away from their adoptive family altogether. These situations are rare, but many adoptive parents can’t help but worry. If it’s not a consistent pestering of our hearts, then an occasional one.
First we have to remember that most teens (the non-adopted ones) go through the “horrible parent” phase; we’re horrible, uncaring, stupid, uneducated, mean, and all around “the worst parent on the face of the earth, and how come I ended up with you as a parent?!” It happens. All the time. Adopted children have an ideal to lean on though, and this is where it changes up a bit, or a lot. That ideal is that life would have been better if they’d stayed with their biological family. Most of the time this isn’t the case (excluding cases of corruption in adoption), hence the need for foster care and adoption.
I’ve worried and fretted about my daughter turning against me when all I’ve done is love her. But here’s the thing, I can’t worry about the future because I have no idea what it holds. I still do worry sometimes, but I try not to. I say this as a person who has a rare genetic disease that is worsening by the year and has no cure, so worry is my game, I’m winning. I’ve had plenty of training in how to worry about the impending seriousness of a situation.
Because of this disease, and because of research done on cancer, I know that worry kills because worry is stress, and stress kills. And although you may not have a deadly disease, stress isn’t good for you either, I’m sure you’ve heard about the many scientific studies done on it’s outcomes. Not good.
As the quote says at the beginning of this post, we can’t determine what our children do in their future or how they feel. However we can love them unconditionally, and be open to talking with them about their birth family, adoption, or reasons they’re in foster care as they’re able to handle it.
All I can do is love my kids with all I have, and that’s what I do. Every day. Because in the end, my daughter may not have feelings of regret surrounding her adoption, she may not wish she lived with her biological family, she may be perfectly content with us.
I would like to add that what I’m talking about isn’t a desire to search for birth family, or make those connections and meet those family members. What I’m talking about goes much farther. The eagerness adoptive and foster children have to get in contact with their biological family is fairly common, however the anger about you adopting or fostering them isn’t the prevailing feeling.
As teens they may be angry, but as I said, many teens are, it’s simply that when they’ve been adopted or fostered they have something tangible to blame. Often this perception will pass and they’ll realize you are their family, the ones who loved them and took care of them, and they can accept their biological relatives as another addition to this family if that family is in a place to participate.
I know you feel like you’re pouring your whole life into your kids, and I’m glad you are because this is what they deserve, no matter how they treat you. They’ve been through trauma, and may take years to heal, years to accept your love and return it.
You may look at your child’s future as an adult and feel animosity at how they took so much of your time and effort, but they’re children and they deserve your unconditional love because they’re innocent. Nothing they’ve been through is fair, and they shouldn’t be expected to fix their hearts when so much damage has been done.
So keep moving forward. Keep reading Lovin’ Adoptin’. Also understand that love for these kids means having guidelines and expectations, you can read more about that in these posts:
Why Consequences & Rewards Don’t Work for Hurting Children
7 Reasons Why Time-In NOT Time-Out
Is Love Enough?
(I only talk about my daughter in this post because my adopted son has autism and doesn’t understand the concept of adoption at this time.)
Do you have any fears about your child’s future and whether they’ll be angry with you or turn away from you? If so, how do you deal with those feelings?
You can read more about talking about birth family in these posts:
Birth Family Relationships (How they can look different for each family and includes a checklist of “5 Factors to Consider in Open Adoptions”)
Questions About Birth Family (How to handle questions about birth family.)
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