Many times, adoptive parents are so focused on finding the baby, they don’t also spend time preparing to be adoptive parents. This is completely understandable! Your journey to adoption is just that, a journey. Your path may take twists and turns, it feel dark as night at times, you may get lost and need to ask for help. The beautiful promise of achieving parenthood is what marks the end of each adoption journey, but that is the first day on the next journey that will last the rest of your lifetime: Being an adoptive parent.
Parenting basics are usually universal. There is no special method to changing diapers or rocking your baby to sleep. Infant care is infant care, no matter how the child came to you. (And as a side note, I always recommend that you prepare for that now – you never know how much warning you may have before picking your child up!)
One of the biggest things that adoptive parents can prepare for is explaining to their child that they are adopted. Begin building your library with children’s books that talk about adoption. As you read these books to your child, they will learn about adoption from the earliest of ages, so it will not be a foreign concept. It is never too early to begin talking about adoption.
For me, I began talking about adoption on our first days home. As I would rock him, I would share that his birth mother loved him so much, she chose us to be his parents. I believe that God brought us together, and I told him that. Part of it was to tell him, the other part was for me… So I could begin easily saying the words, having the conversations with him, so that it came naturally to me. His adoption has never been a secret, it has always just been how he came to our family.
You can also begin building your library with books that help you learn about some of the issues that your child may face. Sherry Eldridge writes wonderful books for adoptive parents, including the classic, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew. Begin to read and become familiar with things, that way when your child says “I wish my birth mother would have kept me,” you will be prepared with a response that shows your unconditional love for your child, in spite of the sting you may feel.
Understanding that your child will have their own feelings about adoption is important too. Unplanned Good shares some of these experiences from adopted children. Reading them will give you a good idea of what adoption can be to your child.
It is important that we never be ashamed, embarrassed, or afraid to talk about adoption. It is a beautiful way to build families and by acknowledging the sacrifice and sorrow that birth mothers endure to create opportunities and hope for their children, we can ensure that our children will share our appreciation for the process.
To learn more about books we suggest you add to your library, see our recommended reading list.