Acknowledging The Challenges

Jenny from Your Parenting sent me a link via Twitter a couple of days ago. I really loved what Katie has to say in her post titled Introducing a Metaphorical Adoption Maternity Portrait Series. I really think she hit the nail on the head with this statement:

And it seems like one big part of being adoptive parents, no matter to whom, is having to play the role of benevolent public educator to an ignorant public who will take the existence of your children as some kind of personal challenge or display of moral one-upmanship.

I really do agree with that statement. It would seem that each and every parent I know who has adopted has a responsibility, whether wanted or not, to play a role in educating the general public about adoption.

It is a big responsibility and at times it weighs heavily on me and I’m sure on all parents through adoption. The biggest challenge I have found is that there is a sector of the general public who appear to want to be educated on the subject of adoption but refuse to hear or acknowledge what is told to them.

If I had a “special needs” child, a child with a physical disability or a mental disability, it would be far easier for the general populist to acknowledge that parenting that child comes with it’s own unique and special challenges. The same can not be said about parenting a child through adoption. While it DOES come with it’s own challenges, pit falls and difficult area’s to navigate, I’ve often found that people tend to be dismissive of these challenges. I’ve witnessed this with my own family and friends and with readers of my blog.

I’m certainly not asking for anyone to pity me, all parents have their crosses to bare, but I would so appreciate it if more people would acknowledge that parenting through adoption does come with it’s own unique set of challenges, worries and concerns.

Nobody likes to have their fears and concerns dismissed, the same can be said about parenting a child through adoption. I have many concerns that I’ve blogged about in the past, I fear Ava growing up with abandonment issues, I worry about her questioning her self worth and lacking a sense of identity. I worry that one day her meeting with her BP’s will hurt her as I’ve read on a lot of adoption blogs that often the meeting with BP’s doesn’t always live up to the expectation of the adopted child, I’m most concerned about if/when she chooses to meet her BF and what the repercussions of that will be. I worry about the long term effect of her post placement trauma. I worry about her being hurt by ignorant people and comments surrounding her somewhat unique circumstances.

There are no words, and nor do I want any words of comfort, I don’t want my fears dismissed because they are very real to me and I’m sure to most parents through adoption.

I don’t want platitudes, I don’t want my circumstance compared with parents who are parenting their own biological children.

What I’d love is simple really. I’d simply love to have my fears and our challenges acknowledged.

P.S. I’m SO going to do a beach ball faux maternity shoot as done on JeJune’s blog! Awesome! I had such a good giggle at that!

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  • Reply TJ

    “role of benevolent public educator” , I couldnt agree more! Coz the truth is, we aren’t all in the same boat. As a Mom we face very real fears, sometimes those fears can be very crippling to us even when others dont see it the same way. I think in your case as well, some might think you’re silly for thinking about Ava’s reactions or meeting her BM & BF. It seems so far away – but reality is – it’s not that far away, you are going to be faced with many questions, many hard questions, you might even have very hurtful things said to you by your daughter when she is hurting.

    Your fears are very real! And I will never even try to understand them. But I acknowledge your fears and challenges. It doesnt make it easier but I just know that your approach is what makes the dfference and you are doing the best you can given the challenges!

    PS. Can’t wait for your faux maternity shoot!

    February 9, 2012 at 11:11 am
  • Reply zamom

    I never did a maternity shoot with either of my pregnancies. I’m not a big fan of the whole pregnancy thing and have no wish to have any reminders at all. Having no idea what everyone has said to you over the past 2 and a bit years I’m just guessing that those that have said they would never be able to adopt may have said so for the exact reasons you mentioned. While the alternative (not having children) would also not have been an option for me, I would have had all the same fears as you (and more) if we had chosen to go the adoption route. I think the thing with parenting after infertility is that once you get pregnant you are pretty equal with everyone else but with adoption your journey is ongoing, however amazing (or stressful) it might be. I am unable to give our embryos up for adoption and so have been given the very slightest little inkling as to what an enormous sacrifice/gift it is to be able to give up one’s child. I cannot even begin to imagine it quite frankly so I also have the smallest inkling as to what a huge responsibility you and W must feel.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm
  • Reply darylfaure

    Sharon, your posts about adoption are always so informative, and I really “get” your concerns. It is a lot to have to deal with. Your post yesterday and your previous one on the whole issue of the sense of loss an adopted baby must feel, really resonated with me and I think it is such a real factor that is sadly neglected. I have no words of wisdom, just wanted to wish you strength when you have to deal with all these issues. One thing I do know, is that Ava is very lucky to have such sensitive, insightful parents who I know will do their best to prepare her properly for the challenges that she will face as she grows up and comes to terms with her history.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm
  • Reply Tan

    Such a real topic. And your fears are real. And I know I have the same fears but with me sitting on the other side of the fence. I wish that we could change the populations idea of adoption in a positive way. I think posts like these will help to do this. πŸ™‚

    February 10, 2012 at 7:22 am
  • Reply To Love Bella

    Since reading your last few posts, Shaz, I’ve been throwing alot of thoughts around inside my head about people who refuse to / fail to acknowledge the challenges that come with adoption – specifically moms-who’ve-not-adopted. I have a rough draft post in my head, because I do want to blog on it and this post of yours says alot of what I am thinking – so I will (eventually) link to it, if that’s okay.

    February 10, 2012 at 8:26 am
  • Reply Cat@jugglingactoflife

    I understand you fears and concerns. My adopted cousin met her BP when she was 18 and the repercussions was huge. Today at 42 she says that she wish she never did but one good thing did come out of it. She knows her adoptive parents are her real parents – the ones all alomh meant to be her parents.

    February 11, 2012 at 6:05 am
  • Reply panjels

    Hi Sharon, I am a newbie on the block and this is my first comment πŸ™‚
    I am really enjoying reading everyones comments and your adoption journey, as my husband and I are also considering it now after a looong haul road of desiring to be parents. I am really wanting to understand and embrace from the outset, the differences that adoption will bring and how to best ‘lead’ people thro – as you say – and as I have so often had to do through our infertility journey. It’s a reality I suppose… we will all have things outside of our frame of reference that, should mouth engage before heart, can come across wrong. Anyway, thanks for making me think of things that I wouldn’t have considered yet.

    Oh and that photo shoot is CLASSIC… captured so aptly!! I have often said how odd it is that when someone is pregnant, they seem to get license to inappropriately (& sometimes distastefully) bare it all on facebook (as beautiful as pregnancy is). should also do a “father in the tub with ducky” shoot (forgive me if some of you have already done that publicly πŸ˜‰ haha not my fav either!

    February 11, 2012 at 10:52 am
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