I’m just sitting here thinking when we started our journey to parenthood the things we had to do, autobiographical questions, thinking about ways to parent and how we would go about it. So I sit here and remember a question I answered during our home study questions with no experience qualifying my parenting interpretation:
17. In what ways do you think adoptive parenting might differ from parenting a biological child?
In many ways, I hope that it will not differ too much from what I have seen with friends and family and their parenting. However, I know that we will need to be prepared to tell our child his/her story so that they may understand how they came to join our family. We are hoping with an open adoption to be able to support our child if he/she has problems identifying who they are with the open communication/contact to their birth parents. We expect to have questions and reactions from strangers and hope to gain the strength to deal with these through support groups and our belief in family.
And here we are now in 2015 with two beautiful daughters …
is parenting what we dreamed and thought it would be? well yes and no … I mean you never know what the job of being a parent is until you are there honestly, anything we thought we knew before went out the window when we were with our babies ..
As our girls are getting older and starting to put the pieces of our family’s story together and their adoptions, we sometimes wonder when they are quiet or their personality takes a different turn is it something about their adoption that is bothering them or is it just something else?
In our group of friends that have adopted too with children who are older than ours, we get a peek into what may be in store both developmentally and what may be adoption related. We can share stories too of what we have seen in our family to other friends with younger children. Not everyone will act the same but it gives us a window that helps us to be more aware of what an emotion coming at us may be related to besides our own intuition.
Is parenting in a family through adoption different from parenting a child you give birth to? I’d still say today the only differences I truly believe is the acute awareness you need of your child and their emotional state related to their adoption stories. We have an added level of awareness to be mindful of what may be going on in their minds that having given birth to a child you would not need. And it is our job to make sure our girls understand our family story and theirs. We have learned with our girls that we need to give them the emotional space for their feelings of loss and grief, of love and joy. We give them a space to talk and ask questions. We are comfortable with our family and how we were built through adoption. It has been a part of our family conversations since the day each girl was entrusted to us. Our comfort allows our girls the space to talk and ask whatever they come up with. Sometimes these questions or conversations will happen at home sitting together and sometimes they happen while we are driving in the car.
Parenting in adoption also means that we allow our children the ability to develop and maintain independent relationships with each of their birth families. We must give our girls the confidence to have these relationships like we do.
So we look back at our journey aware of what some of our job would be in making sure they each understand that as a family through adoption we are just an ordinary family that came together with each of their birth families to be a family. We also know that we have the everyday parenting responsibilities that we must face, and we have kept up with reading parenting books giving us philosophies to work with as parents for our daughters. These are on top of what we have learned and what we continue to learn about children that are adopted.
Lastly I will say this is the hardest job I HAVE EVER HAD AND IT IS THE MOST REWARDING!
Are you a parent through adoption? What has been your parenting experience?
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