I recently asked the list-members on Adoption Parenting Tweens & Teens the following questions about their adoption-parenting experiences:
- What do you wish you had been better informed about?
- What has been surprisingly easy / fun?
- What has been really tough?
The answers were thoughtful,
insightful and poignant. I wanted to send wine and chocolate to every
parent who responded - and to all of the parents who didn't respond
because they were simply too gobsmacked by parenting-work-life to take
the time to catalog their joys, frustrations and sorrows!
I asked adoptive mom Nicole Magnuson's
permission to reprint her brief post (below) as she touched on a
couple of very important points... and she managed to sum it all up in
her wise last line with what I regard as a mini-bite version of The True Secret of Parenting Success. From Nicole:
"Hi all -- So many answers have resonated with me, especially those
about being surprised/disappointed about how hard it is, being single
and older, and feeling like our kids are "other." I add these thoughts:
When I became a parent, my friendships changed in ways I didn't expect. I
had sort of assumed that my closest friends would help me raise my
kid, but several friendships with younger, single/non-parent friends
fell away after I adopted my daughter (singly). It was disappointing
and felt like a betrayal. I even got negative feedback from my sister,
and that was crushing. But then I realized that they hadn't signed up
to do it, I had! And over time, it turns out that most of those friends
and my sister came around, and some also adopted.
As a corollary, I would say that it's critical to build yourself
support, asking people outright if/how they can help (especially if
you're doing it solo), join support/parenting groups (in person and
online), think about camps and vacations that will give you a rest and
connect you with similar people/kids. I was pleased to find many
parents through my daughter's schools--often also adoptive and often
also solo--who would trade childcare, overnights, emergency backup,
etc., and I worked hard to develop these relationships and to pay
forward and pay back.
About parenting, all I know now is "Never say never or always",
because there are a thousand things I thought I would never do that I
have done and some that I thought I would always do that simply haven't
been possible with this child. (Examples of never: frozen pizza, mac
'n cheese from a box, years of medication, calling 911, consider a
barely passing grade more than sufficient, etc.)
Finally, what I know now is that until I raised my child, I thought
nurture would trump nature, but it doesn't. Along the way, I have
figured out what she needs, I have made plenty of mistakes, and I now
firmly believe that making and maintaining the emotional connection--at
every age and stage--is the foundation of figuring out all the other
With appreciation for all of us,
Mom to now-15 domestically adopted girl who is (finally) doing GREAT"