— by Wendy Kaiser
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist LMFT #83952
Why Adopt? – by Wendy Kaiser
There is quite a variety of adoption scenarios. The child might be an infant or a teenager or any age in between. The prospective parents may have no children yet or 10 children already. There could be a single child awaiting adoption or a sibling group hoping for a family to adopt them. But the common theme in the adoption story is that there is a child in need of a family and a home, and there is a set of parents or a single parent with a desire to love and care for a child or children in need.
It seems like a perfect match. What could go wrong?
Whatever the circumstances, another theme of adoption is that it represents enormous loss. For the child of any age, adoption represents the loss of their original parents. For an infertile couple, it represents the loss of the biological child they had hoped for. So the prospective parents make a choice to adopt. And generally, they bring to the story a tremendous amount of determination to love that child or children with all of their hearts, possibly with even more fervor than a biological child, because parents have to work so hard and jump through so many hoops to adopt. But for the child, there is no choice about whether or not to lose the original parents.
You may have heard, as I have, that the unborn child can hear the mother’s heart beating, hears and recognizes her voice. Expectant mothers are encouraged to think positive and stay in an upbeat mood, because the unborn baby may even be able to pick up on negative emotions and feel the effects of cortisol if the mother is stressed. I would guess that most expectant mothers who are contemplating relinquishing their baby for adoption have some difficult emotions to deal with, and feel some stress during the pregnancy.
So what may be considered the best of adoption circumstances? A newborn baby is delivered, biological mom says goodbye, and the baby goes into the arms of eager, loving adoptive parents. Even in this scenario, the baby feels the loss. What happened to that familiar voice and heartbeat?
I remember bringing home my 10 week old baby. He had lost not only his biological parents, but now was losing the foster mom who had cared for him for the last 10 weeks. He cried a heartwrenching cry the entire 45 minute drive home, a memory that still brings tears to my eyes and an ache to my heart. I loved him with all my heart, but everything he was experiencing then was unfamiliar. The car felt and sounded unfamiliar and I sounded unfamiliar, no matter how soothingly I spoke to him. Can you imagine how terrifying that must have been for a 10 week old infant? Yes, he did come to know my and my husband’s voices and the sights and sounds of our home, but that familiarity did not erase the loss he had suffered.
So, why adopt? Because there are and will always be children in need. In this imperfect world, there will always be biological parents who, for whatever reason, are unable to provide the life they want for their child. And so they make the excruciating choice to relinquish. For adoptive parents who believe in God, they may feel that it is God’s call on their life to adopt a child or children. And it is a blessed calling, to invest your life in another’s, especially in the treasured relationship of parent and child. There are ways for adoptive parents to help their adopted children process the loss of biological parents in a healthy way. When they provide this kind of help, there is the added benefit of a deepened bond between the child and adoptive parents. What a great opportunity! For the adoptive parents, making this commitment to raise a child brings a richness and deeper meaning to life. And for the child? Astable, loving home is priceless!
I’ll be sharing more ideas for adoptive parents in future blogs.
Adoption is a beautiful way to have a family. If it is something that you are considering, I'd love to have a free 15 minute phone consultation about adopting and the benefits of seeing a therapist for support along the way as you make the most of your unique family. Click here to send me an email, or call the office anytime and ask for Wendy.