1. Sometimes Its the Not knowing that makes things so hard. Therapy can help our children to open up a little but theres a chance we may never get to know everything. It can be so hard not understanding your chilld, their fears, thoughts, worries, likes/dislikes or even just the things that make them happy. A child with an attachment issue may never let you in.
2. The internet is a blessing. Its the only real way to connect with people with similar experiences, get advice and be able to research. Librarys seldom store adoption related books. And ‘attachment’ is a foreign word outside the adoption network.
3. Connecting to the Adoption community is difficult. It is vital to find people who know what you are going through, can understand your feelings, fears and hopes. Yet, sometimes this can be so difficult. People dont generally have a sign on their head that announces that they adopted their children and support groups are few and far between.
4. Holidays and special events can be difficult. Birthday parties can be stressful for our children and for us. Being the centre of attention can be very overwhelming for our children. They may not cope well with the change in routine or the lack of structure a party brings. Then there is actually having to observe other children alongside your children, so their delays and social difficulties are sometimes very obvious. People naturally want to know what to buy your child, or what they enjoy doing. And you might not know. They might not play with toys, they might not know how. Ditto for Christmas.
5. Well-intentioned people will add to your frustration. They don’t mean to, but it is human nature to comfort and soothe. Invariably, they will attempt to do so in awful ways. Some will deny there is a problem and say that everything will be just fine . Some will even compare your children to theirs. By denying there is even a problem, they effectively silence you and leave you isolated in your own mind. Some will try to remind you how grateful you should feel, it could be worse afterall. And, while gratitude is a great thing, being reminded that you aren’t just makes you feel worse.
6. People will surprise you. Causal acquaintances will step up to be better friends than the friends and family you believed you could count on. There is nothing like becoming an adoptive parent to give one clarity.
7. Doctors and other experts really don’t know everything. Your pediatrician and other proffessionals may not see what you are so worried about and may try to convince you nothing is wrong. They may encourage you to wait and see. You will want to believe them and may forget that childhood trauma and attachment really isn’t their speciality.
8. If you aren’t a naturally assertive person, you will have to become one. People ranging from loved ones to the school system will fight you all the way about how best to meet your child’s needs. You will have to fight and ultimately insist — which is both harder and easier than you might expect.
9. It’s easy to neglect others when you are caught up with the needs your child. You can forget the importance of date night with your spouse. You might forget a friend or loved one’s birthday. You might realise you are not taking care of yourself and are about to fall apart. You will have to figure out a way to stay both connected and together. This is hardest thing to learn to do.
10. You will develop an appreciation for the little things. There are moments of interaction and progress that will steal your heart. Hugs and kisses might not be something your child feels safe enough to give often, so they are unbelievably precious when they do.
So, what about you? What have you learned?
(copied and adapted from another blog)