The thought of welcoming a new child into your family can be exciting. Overcome by joy, parents sometimes overlook the unexpected turns that come with adoption. After placement, the reality of parenting can set in, presenting unique challenges.
Before rushing to embrace a new family member, prepare yourself by considering the changes their arrival may bring to your life.
Emotional challenges may cause you to doubt your parenting abilities
The stress of parenting often makes adoptive parents question if they did the right thing. Even though they’ve wanted to have a child for a long time, they find themselves resenting their current situation due to factors such as lack of sleep, uncomfortable routines and sheer exhaustion.
You may find comfort in knowing that it is normal for new parents to experience post-adoption depression (PAD). Many adoptive parents are unaware of how common PAD is, causing them to feel guilty and isolated.
In severe cases, the excessive stress may lead a parent to lose interest in the child or become too anxious to care for them. The National Council for Adoption offers some tips for hopeful parents such as yourself to help mitigate post-adoption depression:
- Get acquainted with PAD.
- Identify individuals you can rely on for support.
- Consider how you overcame prior issues with anxiety, poor self-esteem, and depression.
- Reframe your expectations of yourself.
- Accept that seeking support after placement is okay.
Identity conflict could get in the way of bonding with your child
Sometimes it takes time for adoptive parents and their children to become comfortable. Parents who did not conceive or notice physical differences may struggle to embrace their new role and feel detached at first.
Experiencing identity conflict after adoption is normal but could make it challenging for a parent to form a relationship with their child. If you find yourself in this position, it may be encouraging to remember that being a parent is more than just sharing the same blood. Moreover, many adoptive parents eventually grow to enjoy their unique situations.
You may have to deal with difficult questions
Adoptive parents sometimes find themselves unprepared to address questions from their children and those around them. Children are curious by nature. Yours may surprise you with a question such as “Who are my birth parents?” In addition, rude inquiries from curious people may be hard to escape.
These questions could come up out of nowhere, and it can be helpful to have a strategy for when they arise.
Adopting a child is not without its challenges, but with love, patience, and understanding, perhaps nothing can stand in your way.