Words of Wisdom For Future Adoptive Parents
Adoption is such an exciting and yet personal journey. You share with everyone and yet there are those precious moments you share only with your spouse. Looking back on our 20 year adoption journey, there are so many bits of information that would have been so helpful when we were first starting the process of adoption. Things I wish we had known.
In honor of National Adoption Month, I have collected bits of wisdom from other adoptive parents. Each parent was asked, “What advice would you give a future adoptive parent? and/or What do you wish you had known before you adopted?”
Tiffany Upton, mother of six, four adopted internationally.
“Listen to those who have been speaking truth into your life, who know what you are going through. Don’t push them away because you will need them.
Set up boundaries for yourself. Parenting is a personal journey and it is hard to let go of the criticisms. You are going to get unsolicited advice, listen and sort out the information. Keep what is valuable and let go of the rest.”
Jeff Rich, dad of one adopted from foster care.
“Disclaimer first – I can only speak of my personal experience, which is adopting a child already in the government system, who’s had struggles and abuse. Also, being placed back and forth between the state, and various family members, which didn’t do him any favors. In our case, family members could not handle him, and he’d been kicked out of EVERY daycare/babysitter in Prescott Valley (no joke). I just think someone like me (ornery Marine), was the perfect match for him, so we both lucked out. I’m not perfect and neither is he, but we make each other better.
Anyway, if we’re looking back, I would say the best advice for potential or current adoptive parents would be consistency. Consistency and patience are definitely top dogs in my experience. Neither of which is easy for the parents, but both are priorities when it comes to the children. Just imagine being in their shoes for a minute. They quite possibly could have experienced a bit of trauma in their life already. So, the effort you have to put in, is well worth it for their development.
One more HUGE thing I want to mention is love and affection. I don’t let my son pass by me without a hug. We have what we call the 12 foot rule. My son is not allowed to be within 12 feet of me, without giving me a hug.
As far as what I wish I had known when I adopted, well, since we went about it on our own, I wish I would’ve known it would take almost 2.5 years to jump through all the hoops and get everything finalized. I do wish I would have adopted about 3 more children at that time. I still would, if I was a bit younger and could afford it somehow. Anyway, just know things can be trying at times, but ultimately it is sooooooo rewarding for all involved.”
Cindy Schultz - mother of 10, 7 are adopted and 2 have Downs Syndrome. Creator of Never Easy, Always Good
“Take time for your marriage. There is always so much going on with the kids so schedule time with your spouse or it won’t happen.
Celebrate truth and honesty.
Look at the world through the child’s eyes.
Sometimes no matter what you do, the result is the result. They make their own choices.
Wade Randolph - dad of 3, 2 adopted internationally, AND MY husband
“Be willing to adjust your expectations.” Early on, when we were having some extreme difficulties with one of our kids, another mom talked with me about expectations. Her advice was to grieve your expectations for your child. You may want certain things for them or have them become all that you want them to be but the child may have physical or emotional struggles that just doesn’t let them accomplish certain goals. Grieve those expectations and adjust your expectations to be more in line with what your child can accomplish.
Ralene Challinor - mom of 2 adopted from foster care, creator and host of Real Talk Radio
"Have a good group of support people around you and research your community resources. Learn from those who have gone before you. Become involved in the adoption community in your area to help you find those supports, you will need."
You can hear more from Ralene's Real Talk Radio
on her website
where she discusses topics related to foster care and adoption. Don't forget to check out our radio spot. LISTEN HERE
My bits of wisdom as a mom of 3, 2 adopted.
“Do your research, follow your heart, and let God guide you. This journey in the land of adoptive parenting is not easy. It will be the hardest job you will ever do. There will be challenges that you never expected, that you have to figure out on your own. Be willing to research and search until you have answers for the struggles that come. Most of all let God speak to you and through you as you pour all your love into your children. Adoptive parenting will bring your greatest joys and your deepest sorrows. Love with all your heart anyway! Everything is held in God’s hands and His plans are perfect.”