Tuesday, February 26, 2019

10 Reasons Why You Should Not Adopt a Child

Yes, you read that correctly.

I know what you're thinking:  there are so many children in the world who need a "good and loving" forever family.  Why would I discourage people from adopting?  

The reasoning is this: when you choose to adopt, the child must be the #1 priority.   

Here are 10 reasons why a person should not adopt, and why: 

1:  You are anti-connective and attachment parenting.

Arguably, adoptees have experienced trauma to some degree (the separation from their biological parents, at birth or later, causes trauma).  That's why parenting based on the understanding of trauma is so important when you're raising an adoptee (person who was adopted).  You cannot parent an adoptee the same way you would parent a biological child, though I think Empowered to Connect (that is, parenting based on "connection and then correction") is reasonable to use on all children.  Want to learn more?  Check out The Connected Child.  

Attachment parenting helps a child, who has had the "break" from their biological family and/or subsequently others they have attached to (foster family, another biological family member, etc.), adjust to his or her new family.  Attachment parenting includes actions such as babywearing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding or "bottle nursing," cocooning, and much more. 

2:  You believe "love conquers all" and "love is all you need."

Love is an essential foundation for any healthy relationship, but it is not "all" that a person needs.  To believe that love will tackle and heal all struggles is naive and does adoptees and disservice.  Of course, love is critically important, but it is a base to build upon, not the "be all, end all" to parenting a child who was adopted. 

3:  You want a child to fulfill your dreams.  

Listen, we adopted because we wanted to be parents:  period.  But we DID NOT adopt a child expecting them to be a certain way in order to fulfill our dreams.  Adoptees come with their own genes (that aren't yours), personalities, preferences, needs, talents, gestures, and physical appearance.  They are who they are, and your job is to embrace them, not seek to change them to fit a "mold" you dreamt up.  Some adoptees struggle with feelings of rejection, and to have you, his or her parents, further "reject" him or her would be detrimental.

4:  You believe a newborn baby or young child is a "blank slate."

A woman is pregnant, full-term, for 40 weeks.  That is 40 weeks of development, growth, and learning for the unborn child.  You are not receiving a child with a "blank slate."  Not even close.  Adoptive parents who have been parenting awhile can confirm this for you.  Again, our children are who they are.   

5:  You don't have the support of your "nearest and dearest."

Adoption is a tumultuous journey.  There are so many ups and downs, and you are going to need support.  And not just general support, but specific support that not only embraces the child to come, but also embraces adoption in general.  There are some great resources for your "nearest and dearest" including In On It and Adoption Is a Family Affair.  I highly recommend that you purchase these books for family members and close friends.

6:  Your circle of friends doesn't include people who will be like your future child.

If you plan to adopt, it would make sense to be friends with people in the adoption community who can help guide you for the long-haul.  These individuals include adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents.  Joining an adoption support group will help you make connections and friends.  If you're adopting a child of color, do you have friends of color?  What about a child with special needs? 

7:  You plan to "tell all."  

Your child's adoption story is his or her story.  It's not yours to share to satisfy the curiosity of others or to give you "all the feels."  Of course, your child's story overlaps with your story, and you do have a family story.  But you need to be very, very careful to never compromise the trust your child has in you to protect his or her privacy.  Your most important job is to raise your child.  

8:  You believe "color doesn't matter."

If you're adopting transracially, it absolutely matters and will matter forevermore.  There is no blowing off race or pretending not to see it.  Race should be celebrated, not ignored. Acknowledged and embraced.  

9:  You see adoption as "plan B" or "second choice" to having your "own" children.

Sometimes, adoption IS your second or third or fourth opportunity to build a family.  However, it is not, or it should be, labeled as something "less than" to the "best" option of having biological children.  If and until you are at the point in which you can pursue adoption with the heart-set that adoption is the way you want to build your family, hold off on adopting.  It's not fair to your future child for you to see him or her as "less than" anything. 

10:  You see adopting a child as a moment in time and not a lifelong journey.  

Adoption is forever.  It doesn't begin the day you start your homestudy process, and it certainly doesn't end the day the judge declares the adoption final.  Because adoption struggles - and joys too - are lifelong.  Just ask any person in the adoption community!  Because adoption is lifelong, you'll need to be prepared to learn about adoption always!  This is an opportunity, not a chore to be dreaded.   Make sure you have the right mindset before embarking on an adoption journey.  

For more on the domestic infant adoption process, from beginning to forever, check out my latest book.

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