5 Mothers On Advice For The Adoptive Parent
Written by Betsy Parton in partnership with Adopt Together to raise awareness for World Adoption Day.
Being a mother has its own universal set of joys, struggles, and learnings. Ones that many of us find comfort in bonding over. The number of times in the past week I’ve sought solace from complete mom strangers over how daylight savings is ruining my life is embarrassing. When consulting a subset of adoptive mothers, you quickly hear, resoundingly, the importance of support from other women who get it. We spoke to five mothers in the AdoptTogether community about the best advice they would offer from their experience.
Nicole, mother to one adopted child
As adoptive moms, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to not only love our child but also to love our child’s birth family. Talk to your child about lifelong issues of adoption, celebrate their story, and embrace his birth family as your family. His birth mother gave him life, and his adoptive mother gets the joy of watching him live!
No matter how we became adoptive mothers, it is because of brokenness. Let’s continue to educate ourselves on what grief and loss look like for an adopted person so that we can walk with our child through it if he should struggle with it someday. Remember to be thankful for how that brokenness came together for good.
Christine, mother to one adopted child
Like any other mother, prepare yourself to be so loving, understanding, and patient... but more so! You won’t just have to extend these acts to the precious child that is about to be your child, but many times you will have to practice these adjectives with a birth mom (who will need much much more love, patience, and understanding than you’ve probably considered), but also with your family that is supporting you. Becoming an adoptive mother isn’t a lighthearted decision and comes with some spectacular responsibilities that make it all even more worth it. It will change you in the most beautiful way possible, and I’m so excited for any woman that goes through it!
Andrea, mother to 1 adopted and 2 biological children
Find a way to take care of yourself! Self-care is so important when it comes to helping your family through the joyful but hard season of the adoption process and welcoming a child home into your family and transitioning. It’s easy to lose your health/yourself as you are taking care of everyone else's very important needs. If you aren't healthy, everyone suffers. Some things I have done that have been so helpful: find a support group, go to therapy, take an hour a day for myself to read/exercise/do something I enjoy, get out with girlfriends once a month.
Judy, mother to 2 adopted children
Build yourself a small support group. Get yourself a small group of adoptive mamas whom you can be honest with, share with, and ask advice without the fear of judgment or criticism. Adoptive moms, especially those who have adopted before and have had some years, can be a source of great encouragement and wisdom, especially during those tough days. Don't be afraid to ask for help and be honest...
Jessica, mother to 2 adopted and 4 biological children
Research & listen. Always get second opinions. Trust your gut. Put a few good people around you who know you well, and allow them to be a sounding board and source of strength for all you are processing and going through. And remember- in the end, this is your family, and it doesn't have to look (or act) like anyone else's. Oh, and join an online community for the type of adoption you are doing (Facebook has some great options). These communities have been & continue to be a wealth of knowledge and perspective for me.