Friend #1 saw a picture online and thought she looked cute. A bond was felt immediately when she met her for the first time. Her two kids liked her, and that was that. They went to the store and bought a few supplies, and brought her home. There was very little information regarding her background, just knew she was 6 weeks old, but that was OK to Friend #1. Love, support, and commitment would carry the day.
Friend #2 did her research. She looked into what would be a good match for her family. Gathering information on attachment types and personalities, she talked to her loved ones about if this was the right time for the family. She talked to friends who had been through the process. After a few “meet and greets” with different “prospects” they selected the one that they thought would be the best match.
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Fast forward three months: Friend #1’s new addition to the family is constantly chewing on valuables throughout the home, has grown four times her size, and doesn’t respond to simple commands.Training and long, daily walks have proven moderately successful.
Comparatively, Friend #2 spends her evenings with her favorite girl nestled comfortably in her lap. Docile, friendly, and wanting to please are constant reminders the patience and planning were worth it. They found a good match!
I hope you’ve realized at this point that the above examples are canine adoptions; if only child adoptions were as simple! There is so much more to that process, but we can learn something from the experiences of those who had the best of intentions but were then faced with realities that they had not planned for.
One of the best aspects of us humans is our desire to care for another, particularly a child. If you are considering adoption I applaud you for the intention! Here’s a few pointers that I hope help you along the way and make the process less daunting. Patience and insight will go a long way towards your adoption process.
1. Figure out the fantasy so you can be clear about the reality:
Think about how you picture your life to be like with your adopted child. For example:
* How old is he or she?
* How does the child behave?
* How do others respond to your child?
* How does the rest of your family react?
* What would it be like to experience the joy of being a parent to this new child?
* What will it change about your relationship with your self, partner and family when you add this new person to your lives?
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Share these fantasies with your partner (and other children) so you can be sure you’re clear of any expectations you’re carrying.
Now comes the hard part: realize this fantasy has no basis in fact.
Fantasies are only harmful when they are believed to be true. Now think about all your hopes and anxieties about adopting a child, which by the way are normal to have. Discuss with your loved one all the terrible things that could potentially happen. Think about all the potential ways you could fail as a parent. What could happen to your marriage, partnership, happy home?