So often in working with adoptive parents, I find myself struggling to express to them just how incredibly important it is for them to remember that their baby will be just that, a baby, for an instant.
A blink of an eye- a moment later- and their infant will be a toddler. From there, it is a short hop to a kindergartner, a quick skip to middle school, and a sprint into young adulthood. For the couples whom are just beginning the adoption and home study process, this thought is unfathomable. They are still waiting to begin the journey that is parenthood.
Perhaps they have just dealt with the overwhelming grief and loss of infertility, the process of acceptance and hesitant hope that comes with embracing adoption. They are not yet ready to think too far ahead, as they are still just putting one foot in front of the other, working through the vast amount of paperwork and learning all that they can about what to expect from the adoption process.
No matter how children come into our lives and create and enrich our family, as parents it is vital to remember that every action we take now will echo and resonant into the years ahead. If a family is being created through adoption, there are some unique opportunities to create a positive echo for the young adult that your child will become.
One of those opportunities can be through the occasion to communicate respect and admiration for and to their birthparents, if for no other reason than the fact that they chose adoption rather than abortion. Depending on the type of adoption (open, closed, partially open) an avenue of communication between adoptive parents and birth parents can vary greatly. In some instances, the adoptive parents will have had the chance to meet the birthmother and/or birthfather, perhaps just for a meal, or to attend doctor’s appointments or even to participate in the birth of their shared child.
In other instances the only opportunity to communicate may be through pictures and letters sent between the parties to update each other on their lives and progress. These can be so important to both birth parents and adoptive parents; reassuring the birth parent that their difficult decision was the right one, and reminding the adoptive parents of the gratitude that they have for the opportunity to cherish and nurture this child.