All expectant parents have concerns about raising a child. Parenting is an enormous responsibility. It is mentally, emotionally and financially taxing. It is completely normal to fear the unknown and wonder if you can keep your head above water in the sometimes-treacherous seas of parenthood. Adoptive families face some additional challenges, and therefore, experience some worries that biological parents do not face. Here, we will address some of the common fears adoptive parents grapple with. It’s important that prospective adoptive families reasonably work through these feelings before moving forward with adoption.
Fear of not Bonding With the Child
There is a fairytale image of biological parents having a child and immediately falling in love at the moment of birth. However, this is not always the case for natural parents or adoptive parents. True bonding frequently requires time. Mothers experiencing postpartum depression or parents who must be away from the child for significant periods of time may struggle with bonding. Many adoptive parents fear that the parent-child relationship will not develop sufficiently. This is a valid concern, particularly if you are adopting an older child. It’s helpful to understand that bonding takes time, patience and love. Children develop bonds as they learn to trust their caregivers. You might, in fact, have an instantaneous connection with your adopted child. But if you don’t, you must be willing to invest the energy required to form this bond.
Fear of Unknown Mental or Physical Challenges
A common concern for adoptive parents is that their child will develop a mental or physical illness. Fortunately, most modern domestic adoptions include an extensive report of the biological parents’ health. Whether adopted or biological, there is never a guarantee that a child will reach adulthood without facing mental illness or serious health problems. Knowing the health background of the biological family gives you an idea of the genetic issues your child might encounter.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that 37% of adopted children have some level of special healthcare needs, while 17% of biological children have such needs. Additionally, 16-20% of adopted children have a learning disability, compared to 8-10% of the general population. These numbers clearly indicate that while adopted children experience issues at a higher rate than other children, the overwhelming majority of adopted children do not have these challenges.
Fear of Rejection by Friends, Family or Community
There is a genuine concern among adoptive families that their friends, extended family or community will not accept their adopted child. This may be of particular concern if the child is a different ethnicity. Some people might openly object to your decision to adopt. It’s helpful to have open and honest discussions with your friends and family about these issues. Allow them to express their concerns, then reassure them that you have put a lot of thought into your decision. Explain that you have made your choice, and it’s not going to change. Let them know you appreciate their concern, but your decision is final. Once they understand that the topic is not open for negotiation, they can choose to support your decision or not. If you find some people are outright hostile and unwilling to support you, you may need to step away from that relationship for some time.
Fear That the Birth Parents Will Change Their Minds
When a birth mother selects you as an adoptive parent, your expectations naturally rise, and you begin preparing for the arrival of your child. If she changes her mind, it is a devastating blow. While it is not typical for this to happen, it is a risk you must consider. You should be ready to cope with a failed adoption placement, just in case. Take comfort in knowing, however, that once an adoption is complete, it is permanent. The birth mother, father or extended family is not able to take your child from you. The only exception is when adoption is performed illegally or unethically. So, make sure you are using a licensed adoption professional who operates within ethical guidelines.
Coping With Fear
Adoptive parents manage their fears in different ways. It’s helpful to talk with people who are dealing with the same concerns or who have already been through it. You can locate support groups in your area to connect with people experiencing similar situations. Pre-and post-placement counseling is also extremely helpful. Share your worries with your adoption professional. They will likely have suggestions and advice to help you cope. Educate yourself on the issues of adoption, so you have all the relevant facts and information.
All expectant parents have legitimate fears. Adoptive parents have a unique set of concerns, and it is completely normal to worry about these things. However, it is crucial that adoptive families deal with their fears and feel ready to face necessary challenges. Contact us today for information and assistance. Our adoption specialists are available 24/7 to answer your questions. Call us at 727-202-8966.
Author: Destiny Adoption Services
Destiny Adoption Services is proud to support and guide birth parents and adoptive families on the journey of adoption. We’re a state licensed nonprofit adoption agency with four decades of adoption experience, and our professional team of experts includes moms, adoptive moms and birth mothers who provide compassion combined with trusted resources and skills.