As an adoptive mother and adoption professional, I've heard a number of stories and helped with thousands of adoptions. I’d like to share some very important and helpful tips for adoptive parents.
There are several damaging comments adoptive parents sometimes tell their children that can truly cause permanent damage to them. These comments can exit your mouth when you are frustrated, tired, hungry and/or sleep-deprived.
Here are 5 things you should never say to your adopted child:
#1 You aren't my real child
#2 I never should have adopted you.
#3 We spent so much money on your adoption.
#4 Your just like your birth mother (or birth father)
#5 You'll never amount to anything
NEVER ever say these things to a child! Use loving, accepting words of encouragement. There is power in the words we speak over our children. If you’re frustrated, consider getting counseling. Remember, you’re the one who has the responsibility of parenting and edifying your child. Your words carry power! Commit to your role as their parent and be the adult in your actions and words.
Once you adopt, your child is part of your family for a lifetime; he or she is all yours. And you are theirs. It may not always be easy, but then again parenting any child, either biological or through adoption, is never easy.
You are the parent and they trust you and depend on you for everything. They have feelings like you and I do, including fear, frustration, confusion, rejection, despair, along with love, affection and acceptance. They often will say things you might not like, so be forewarned. When he was four years old, I told my son he couldn't go swimming in the dead of winter. He responded, “you’re not my real mom, my birth mother would have let me!” I was prepared for this day and responded, “I'm sorry you feel that way honey…your birth mother was very nice, but she would say the same thing. I love you.” I never heard those comments again.
It always helps to stay connected with other adoptive parents, parenting groups, and play groups for support and education. As you know, children don't come with manuals; each are unique and deserve your grace and acceptance. There are ways to help new adoptive parents, such as through excellent books on adoptive parenting and books for adopted children that help explain adoption in a positive way to them. It's never too early to share their adoption story. Studies show that sharing it with them sooner is best.
You can be a good parent with a positive outlook and outcome if you focus on the blessings parenting can bring.
The best to you!