Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | March 28, 2013

Expectations

Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting down with a family that has adopted a sibling group of three children from Peru. We were able to join together to shoot this video to use with other adoptive families, and I look forward to sharing it with all of you. During the video, we discussed different aspects of the adoption process, in particular the post adoption phase. I know that you will all appreciate and enjoy watching the video because it is a very honest video… discussing the difficulties that oftentimes come alongside the adoption process and post adoption phase.

One of the topics that came up was “expectations.” Whenever I first meet with a potential adoptive family, a lot of times they have expectations of exactly how their adoption journey will go, and that everything will move accordingly. I wonder how many of you are chuckling as you read that sentence?!

If you are well into the adoption process, or in the post adoption phase, you probably know exactly what I mean. You probably also know that, in terms of adoption, your expectations are most likely going to be completely washed away. I often tell families that the best attribute or characteristic you can have during the adoption process is flexibility (this coming from a rigid type A personality).

Here are some expectations that I have encountered from adoptive families through the years:

  • Adoption is glamorous. A lot of people see society’s view of adoption… the Brad and Angelinas. But sometimes adoption includes tears, difficult adjustment periods, and a little bit of insanity! And that, my friends, is NORMAL! Adoption is sacred, difficult, and true ministry. Adoption is truly beautiful in all of its pains and joys… but it is not glamorous.
  • Love will come immediately. Sometimes this happens. Sometimes that child sees you and immediately is smitten with you; and you with him. But more often than not, love takes time… on both sides: the side of the parents and the side of the child. This is NORMAL.
  • I know my child will have gone through hurts, abandonment, grief, trauma, abuse, etc., but all of that will disappear once they are home with us. Oh how I wish this could be true?! I hate that our children have been hurt, many times by forces they had no control over and by people they should have been able to trust. The truth is it might take your child years to heal. Healing often comes slowly and over time. Many times it takes the child years to just be able to talk about the things that have hurt them. This is NORMAL. If you have ever been hurt, abused, neglected, mistreated, or lost a loved one, then you know that the pain remains. The best thing we can do for our children is give them a safe place to heal, and help them heal however necessary. Whether that be through counseling, discussions at home, crying/grieving, co-sleeping, etc., we must provide our children an environment that promotes healing.
  • We don’t need help; we are fine. The adoptive mother that I was speaking with yesterday stated it so well when she adamantly said to the camera and other adoptive families “Accept help from others.” God did not create us to be alone in this process. He gave us family, friends, churches, professionals, and other adoptive families. Accept help; you will need it, and that is NORMAL. Let people cook you dinners, buy you groceries, babysit. Let people experience this journey (no matter how difficult it is) with you. We don’t have it all together; we aren’t the most perfect family ever created. But we are a family that God has brought together, and that makes us perfect in His sight.

I am sure there are many other “expectations” that you can think of, or that you have even experienced yourself. Please leave them in the comment section, and share with other families.

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