What a Mom Who Adopted from Foster Care Wants You to Know
We ask questions weekly at the Creating a Family Support Group and one week the question was “What do you wish other people knew about adoption?” This response from a mom who adopted children from foster care blew me away.*
I wish I had known…
–That many people are not going to be accepting of adoption.
–That you must choose carefully who you talk to.
–That some will say, “You knew what you were getting into,” even though you are not complaining and just telling them why they haven’t seen you around.
–That some will be so condescending and mean.
–That they have no compassion for these children or for those who take them in.
I wish that I had taken up the two who did offer before the kids came home to help fill the freezer with ready-made meals. I wish someone had thought to give us a child shower and help with very practical things we needed (like meals, toothbrushes, clothes, shoes, blankets, coats, hats, mittens, even toys). I wish there was a way to prepare for what you do need when the children come.
I wish I had known that I might lose people I love because they are not able to love the way I do.
I wish people would understand why we do not want anyone who is not part of our immediate family to live with us until the bonds of attachment have been established. It sets the children up for more trauma and having someone living with you, even when they are just there to help out, force you to give up control for your household at a time when you very much need to feel in control.
I wish to let others know that there are people who can help and are willing to help, but you must be particular in who you ask.
I wish to tell those who have not adopted, that we who have adopted, need compassion, parties, kindness, and love just as much, if not more, than those who have given birth.
We need meals, gifts of sitters after bonding, bubble bath, coffee gift certificates, toys for our children, shoes, clothes, clothes, and more clothes. These children don’t come with much, and if they do, it usually does not fit.
We need to be told that these things we wish for are not selfish… our needs are just as important.
We need friends who will listen even if they don’t understand, and not keep giving advice unless it is truly asked for.
We need time to ourselves, even half an hour a day, to just do something we used to enjoy.
I wish to tell others that:
…we need what anyone else needs and sometimes more because adopting several children at once changes your life more than any preparations you could have made.
…older children who have experienced abuse and neglect are in some ways just like toddlers and need help understanding the world around them.
…being a parent for 24 years to five does not fully prepare you to do this job, but someone needs to do it and those that do, just may need a little help.
I wish that the process of adoption did not make me so cynical because these children are worth everything and deserve a good life. We are blessed for loving them more than they are blessed because of us.
Have you adopted from foster care or are you a foster parent? What do you wish people knew?
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*Shared with permission. Image credit:sean dreilinger; Andrea Anthony