Parent-to-Parent: My Best Advice to Myself

Adoptive parents share the best adoption advice they would give themselves if they could go back five years, whether that would take them back to the adoption process or the early days of parenting.

an adoptive mother considers the best adoption advice she would have given herself if she could go back five years

On our Facebook page (facebook.com/adoptivefamilies), we asked readers, If you could go back five years, what advice would you give yourself regarding adoption? Here’s what you said:

“Write it all down! Sometimes I wish I had a collection of all our earliest memories as a family, but after the blur of the home study and adopting a newborn, I just didn’t feel like writing anything else. Now I wish I had, for his sake and ours.” —BRIDGET

“1) Skip the infertility treatments! 2) Jump right back in for the second adoption after the first adoption. 3) Be more selective about with whom I share my children’s stories. Those are their stories to tell, not mine.” —DAISY

“Assume you know nothing, realize behavioral interventions don’t work for every kid, read therapeutic parenting books, buy stock in Barbie, enjoy the house being clean because you won’t see it that way for a while, and always keep the carpet shampooer ready for use. Oh, and document what it feels like to sleep all night…you will forget what that feels like.” —MELISSA

“It will happen. Stop stressing. Stop trying to control everything. Know that you and your child will be brought together.” —WENDI

“I would love to say, ‘just go with foster care,’ but my past is what makes me who I am. If I hadn’t tried IVF, I would have always second-guessed myself. So I would say, ‘go with your instincts. They are correct.’” —DIANE

“Research and study attachment. Children adopted from foster care who have experienced abuse and/or neglect may have attachment issues. It affects every part of who they are and their brain development.” —CAROLYN

“Take more pictures with my daughter’s mom…. Don’t be so afraid to stand up for ethical treatment of everyone involved.” —KAREN

“Fight harder to keep my kids’ sibling together with us. They haven’t seen their little sister in a couple years now, but the other family wants no contact. It breaks my heart to see and feel my children’s pain.” —LYN

If your partner isn’t engaged in the adoption process, don’t assume things will change once a child is placed with you. Actions speak louder than words.” —MOLLY

“Learn as much as you can about how trauma affects children. Find your support team of adoptive/foster families before placement. Put as many tools in your tool belt as you possibly can. Equip yourself with a training like TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) from the Karyn Purvis Institute. Prepare your heart for the new normal your journey will take you on.” —KELLI

“Don’t sweat the small stuff. Academics will be the hardest but also the least of your worries. Focus on your relationship. Get medical evaluations right away!” —LISA

“Start 5 years before you think you want to.” —JENNIFER

“Daily battles are par for the course, stay strong in your faith. Utilize friends, family, and church family to help with the kids. They love you and want it to work. The children come with traumatic backgrounds and need you to be solid. You cannot be their best friend and a parent. Sibling groups are hard but SO worth the extra effort.” —LANA

“I would give myself a hug. Five years ago I was just realizing that it wouldn’t be easy for me to become a mom, and right now I’m still waiting. But I had to go through each awful step until we filled out the papers.” —ALIYAH

“I would tell myself, ‘Don’t wait. Start now!’ Now, I must take my own advice and start on Baby #2. Thanks for the eye opening question!” —MICHELLE

 

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