#35 – Keeping the faith

November 6, 2011 at 9:28 am | Posted in Adoption differences, adoption issues, Adoptive parenting do's, Identity issues | Leave a comment
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Some of us who have been through the active parenting years look back with a perspective unknown to us years ago.  Back then we often took everything seriously, saw fore-warnings of a future that never materialized and we had a hard time relaxing when it came to our children.  If we could go back, I think many of us would have enjoyed our parenting – and our children – more than we did at the time.  Of course, it would have been nice to know everything turned out okay.  That would have relaxed us more.  But, the point is still there.

Even when things don’t turn out okay, all we can know is we did our best.  We’re not going to do everything right, but even if we start each day parenting with love and the intent to do the very best for our child, many of the results are actually out of our hands.  There can be many factors that come between our desires and the actual results.  These can include heredity issues and outside influences too numerous to mention.

Throughout the many years involved in parenting, I think all parents change their expectations for their child – some up and some down.  We become more realistic as our children grow and develop.  We might desire an Olympic champion or a great statesman, but in time we see our child as the gem they already are and we wish them fulfillment of their dreams, not ours.

Many young adoptees really struggle with identity, much more so than biological children do.  They question who they are and why they are here, as well as where in the world are they going.  A relaxed parent who encourages instead of molds, and cheers instead of criticizes has a better chance of seeing a happy result.  It isn’t unusual for adoptees to ‘find themselves’ later in life, often in their 30’s and 40’s, and beyond.  They can spend years trying to get comfortable with themselves.  We as parents should make sure our kids know we have faith in them whatever they turn out to be.  Our kids need to know they are appreciated and respected by us. It’s their dreams we should care about, not ours.  We need to tell them.

Adoptive parents have told me that their adult children still seem insecure with their self-worth, in spite of the fact they may be successful in careers and have had active support of family and friends.  I think all of us have had doubts from time to time as to our abilities, so we can relate to this feeling.  Sometimes adoptees struggle with insecurity for a longer time.  Their source is deeper than ours, and our acceptance of this fact will help both them and us.  It seems it sometimes takes a long time to grow up.  Then there is the question  – if we are open and always learning, are we ever really grown up?  Perhaps self-assurance is a journey and not a destination.

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