For me, being a passionate adoption advocate, the fact that pretty much anyone can adopt now is great. But that doesn’t mean that everyone should…..
Having adopted three boys sequentially from the same birth family, many would call me and my husband experienced adopters. But of course, the reality is that all parents are continuously learning. And that’s the joy of this rollercoaster ride – no one day is the same!
Adoption gave us our family, and for that I will always be grateful. Our three boys are our world and I would encourage anyone considering adoption to look at it from every angle before deciding whether it is for you. And it may not be, but that’s ok too.
If I could offer one piece of advice to prospective adopters it is this: you will not adopt a baby or a child, you will adopt a person.
Now let me explain.
Every child that is waiting to be adopted has a history. However young or old they are, they have been on a unique journey to get to where they are.
They will have experienced trauma. They may have experienced abuse or neglect.
When someone is taken away from their birth family, their whole world is turned upside-down. However young they are, they will have to get used to a new environment, new noises, smells, carers – everything will have changed.
Before a child in care is matched with an adoptive family, they will have already made connections, built relationships, started to live. It is these connections that will help them navigate the uncertainty that they find themselves in while they are in care. They may have bonded with foster carers. They may start to trust again. They may even feel like they belong.
So, each child in care is a person with their own lives already started.
As adopters it is our job to love them, care for them, parent them and be their forever home. But I truly believe it is also our job to respect and maintain those already built relationships and connections. They are part of them and will help them form their identities as they grow.
We have welcomed three sets of foster carers into our extended family, and as well as being vital pieces of the puzzle for our kids as they grow and form their own unique selves, there are other benefits. We get vital knowledge about our kids before we knew them, which only helps us to feel closer to them.
So, if you think you could adopt a person, love them, protect them, take them as they are complete with already formed connections, then go for it! The rewards are amazing!