Our Top 10 Pros & Cons of Adoption
I have not written a blog post for a number of weeks as I have been absorbed with some extremely challenging behaviour from my boys and honestly, had no time to write. I feel strongly about Adoption, and I wanted to contribute but I had difficulty working out what to write about, so I spent some time reflecting on what would most be of interest.
At times, we have found ourselves talking more about the difficulties we have faced over the past year rather than actually thinking, reflecting and sharing the positives. At times we have been quite negative. I find myself thinking of the below list both pros and cons, often.
Whenever we have a bad day, I always think of the pro’s and con’s and try to remember why we chose to do this in the first place. Although the below Con’s were very easy to write and seemed to flow onto the page quickly, the “Pro” camp, always won any internal discussion in my head in the end. I wouldn’t have it any other way…
So based on our experience, below is our Top 10 Con’s and Top 10 Pro’s of adoption
- It is hardwork! No beating around the bush. It has not been a fairy tale / “roses around the door” sort of relationship (kudos to those who have experienced this!) but in our experience and others we have spoken to, it is hard…
- Your life is no longer just yours – We have to think constantly of someone else, thinking ahead, reflecting for our children, managing their emotions as well as ours…
- We became housebound after 7pm when children go to bed (sometimes earlier!)
- Therapeutic parenting becomes your life (or at least it really should be…) – it has been an immense help for us to manage our days
- We spend your life trying to work out what difficult behaviour is a result of pre-adoption experiences and what is behaviour demonstrated by a well attached child, then comparing them to all other children their age
- You have a period of your life where Social Workers are intensely involved allowing them to delve into your background and your lives. They will know your house better than you at times… We didn’t have a problem with this really but some really don’t like this level of involvement
- You are thrown into parenting almost overnight – this is a difficult adjustment to make and one you would usually grow into with a birth child, but adoption exposes you (in most cases) to a walking, talking little person with opinions, thoughts and history that you immediately need to start parenting… not an easy task. At times you find yourself fighting for support, fighting to be heard and fighting to get a result that sometimes people don’t have the magic wand for!
- You are walking into the unknown – although you get all the reports, professionals input and those who know them best (eg. Foster Carers, teachers etc) telling you about your children… you are not always able to account for their early life experiences both positive and negatives. Sometimes these experiences are shared later in life and come out at the most interesting of times. You may find yourself dealing with some difficult questions and conversations that you would not have predicted you would be dealing with
- You will miss the early important bonding period and some important milestones in your children’s lives – we sometimes find ourselves cursing this fact and I feel myself a little sadder not being involved in those days, and wondering what they would have been like as babies
- Not only bringing a new child into your life, but bringing their birth family with them – no matter how much you may not want it, the birth family is now part of your life, they exist in your child’s thoughts, mannerisms and features. At times we felt we were just raising someone else’s child and in the early days, felt very disconnected. You may or may not have contact with them but they do exist…and you need to respect it whether you want to or not
- Adoption gives infertile couples, LGBT couples and single people the ability to become parents when they may otherwise not have been able to – it gave us the ability to build our family!
- You help a child have a better life particularly children who may have otherwise struggled to find a “forever family” namely siblings, older children and children with disabilities – we spend our days helping our children to make sense of the world, explore their feelings, open up, build healthy attachments, experience experiences that they would never have had, and give them options in life
- You have a choice – you are asked upfront what you can manage. Helping a child with disabilities as an example if not something everyone is able to do. We had a choice about what children we felt we could support best
- It is extremely rewarding when you take a step forward emotionally, academically or physically – even just small steps. Every small step is a reason to celebrate. Our boys telling us how they feel and expressing their emotions, our boys opening up and telling us about their experiences pre-adoption, our boys receiving glowing reports on their development at school both socially and academically we have pinned to a result from being in a stable loving home
- You have experiences that you never thought you would have had – family holidays for example are different from pre-adoption days but I wouldn’t change them for the world
- You are challenged (daily!) – I am sure we are becoming stronger and better people! I’m sure….
- Your personal network expands and you become part of a “community” – you inadvertently become part of the Adoption community whether you like it or not. We now have commonality with a large range of new people who we can either share our experiences with and help, or bond over shared experiences!
- There are support options available to help you manage and help the children grow and develop. As an example there is the Adoption Support Fund, Post Adoption Support and more. You also have access to pre-adoption “Parenting” courses and therapeutic training which is more than the majority of birth families receive
- You become one of, or THE most important people in your child’s life – this is all encompassing
- Life becomes much more rewarding and we now experience an immense amount of love that is unmatched by anything I have ever felt
Overall, I feel passionately that I will always be honest about our experiences, I would never gloss over the difficulties we have faced nor the amount of times that we have struggled with our decision. However, overall, we love our boys immensely and we would never have it any other way nor would we have done it any differently. Knowing what we know now, we want to help others like others helped us but everybody’s journey is different and their own…
Some days are bad, some days are good… some days are great… and those good and great days are the reasons that we get up again every morning… and continue on improving the life of our little family, helping our boys to have a better life, providing them options in life while living in a loving, happy and stable home and family!
For further information on Adoption, a few links that could be beneficial