Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Dear Sugar: 5 Powerful Lessons Adoption Has Taught Me

Dear Sugar,

National Adoption Month continues, and today I'm sharing with you five powerful lessons adoption has taught me over the past decade.  

1:  Slow down, future mommy.

I'm typically a (quickly) decisive person, which is mostly a good thing, but can also backfire.  It's so important when you choose to adopt that you slow down and really simmer in your options before making decisions.  Don't be in such a rush to become a mommy that you don't put on your mommy-to-be hat and ask yourself, What will this choice potentially mean for our future child?   Because in adoption, hopeful parents hold a lot of power:  we make most of the decisions.  Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.  Every choice you make has effects on tomorrow.

2:  Never stop getting educated.

Finalizing an adoption is a one-time legal process, but parenting adoptees is an ongoing journey. A parent is never too experienced or too educated.  Be part of an adoption support group, read articles and books, attend conferences.  Be proactive instead of waiting to be reactive.  

3:  Be the parent your child needs.

My dear friend Madeleine wrote an inspirational book on her experiences as an adoptee and how parents-by-adoption can apply her insight to their lives.  In the book, she stresses over and over that parents who adopt the child need to have the courage and conviction to be the parent their child needs them to be.  In a world that's very noisy and distracting, Madeleine reminds us to get grounded and stay grounded.

4:  Stop surfing.

I believe in this so firmly that I dedicated a chapter of my book to it.  With information, with adoption profiles, with social media being at our fingertips 24/7/365, we can sometimes become so buried in a virtual adoption world that we lose sight of what matters most:  the people right next to you.  Pause for a moment and ask, is what I'm doing right now helping or harming?  Recent studies show that spending a lot of time online leads to less happiness.

5:  Be ethical.

Adoption ethics should be the basis in which you make every choice.  And as I share in my new book, parents (or hopeful parents) almost always know what the ethical choice is:  they just have to have the courage and conviction to make that right decision.  Above all, know that when you always make the ethical choice, when you face your child you'll be able to tell him or her, with a clear mind and heart, that you did the right thing even when it was difficult.

What lessons have you learned thus far on your adoption journey?  Share with me on Facebook.  

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