Normalizing the Adoptive Parent's Experience

ADOPTION TRIAD - August 15, 2017

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Normalizing the Adoptive Parent's Experience

Adoptive parenthood, like biological parenthood, is a life changing event that can be immensely rewarding but also filled with unexpected challenges. This month, Adoption Triad focuses on the impact of adoption on adoptive parents and several common themes that may emerge after adoption. 

Although each situation is unique, adoption may be regarded as the final step of a long journey. The decision to adopt may be inspired by myriad personal motivations. Still, after successfully completing all required legal steps and managing the peaks and valleys of the waiting period, the shift to adoptive parenthood can generate some overwhelming and unexpected emotional responses.

Regardless of the type of adoption and the concerns that may arise at any particular time, many parents may experience some level of stress or uncertainty as they adjust to a newly created family.  Sometimes, adoptive parents can be hard on themselves, wondering whether they are fully prepared to meet the needs of their child, questioning their ability to negotiate expectations, and feeling uncomfortable with their thoughts and emotions.

One of the ways to remove roadblocks and normalize the anxiety surrounding this life transition is to recognize that these concerns are very common. Parents should not feel alone as they struggle with these feelings, face new challenges, and search for answers. Becoming familiar with issues that are unique to adoption and learning where to access needed support and resources will help adoptive parents feel more secure in their role and create a foundation on which can they build healthy and successful families. 

  1. Read Child Welfare Information Gateway's publication, Impact of Adoption on Adoptive Parents. This factsheet for families highlights some common areas of concern before and after adoption and provides suggestions on how to address them. 
  2. Search the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to locate a support group for adoptive families near you. 
  3. Explore Child Welfare Information Gateway's information on State Post Adoption Services and Programs, and State Foster/Adoptive Family Associations/Coalitions.