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International Adoption E-zine, Issue #002 -- Adoption Guilt
December 16, 2009

Adoption Guilt

Adoption guilt is something I have struggled on and off with since my adventure in parenting began more than ten years ago when I became foster mom to my oldest son.

For a year and a half I dealt with weekly visits with the birth mom, talking to busy social workers, attending hearings and agonizing over what would happen to this precious child should he be returned to a situation I knew wasn’t good for him. Eventually we adopted him.

Then we decided to adopt a little girl from Guatemala. We went through months of paperwork while reading all the complaints by UNICEF about how adoption was destroying the culture of Guatemalan children. I traveled to Guatemala to pick up my daughter and endured hostile looks and left the country feeling as though I had kidnapped my daughter rather than adopt her.

Since then I have read rants on the internet about how terrible adoption is and how destructive it can be. And while I do agree there is corruption in the system - the same as everywhere else - adoption is still an important and beneficial act of love. Feeling adoption guilt is not only unnecessary, but detrimental to your relationship with your child.

What are some of the results of adoption guilt? They include the following:

The Sugar Parent

You sense people thinking, She didn’t give birth to him; How could she possibly love him? So you go overboard trying to prove your love by buying gifts for your child, doing endless fun projects and paying for all sorts of extracurricular activities. While none of these things are wrong in and of themselves, too much of anything is never a good thing.

Your children don’t need a sugar parent or a buddy. They need a parent. Of course you should give good things to your children, but be sure to also provide the discipline and structure your child needs. Learning self discipline and realizing he can’t have everything he wants will be far more beneficial to your child in the long run than any toy you give him now.

The Apologetic Parent

“Where did you get those pretty brown eyes?” a woman at the grocery store asks your daughter, and immediately, you’re falling over yourself with explanations about how you brought her home from another country. Stop explaining. Stop apologizing. She’s your daughter. Period.

The Inadequate Parent

If God wanted you to be a mom, He would have made you fertile, wouldn‘t He? So since He didn’t, maybe your child deserves better. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself questioning every decision you make. Such feelings of inadequacy can be detrimental to your authority as a parent and to your relationship with your child.

Dig a grave for that line of thinking now and bury it. You made a commitment to this child, and she needs you without all the extra baggage. Sometimes being a parent means acting the role, whether we feel like a real mom or not.

At the end of the day, you’re the one who changes her diapers, fixes her meals, helps her with her homework and listens to her talk about her day. The role of parent isn’t so much a genetic thing as a role tied to the heart. Enjoy your child without guilt.

What's New

Paying for Your Adoption

Are you hoping to adopt in the coming year, but aren’t sure how you’ll raise the money? Here are some great fundraising ideas.

A garage sale is a great way to help finance your international adoption. Get some great tips here.

I’ve also included some extra tips on helping to finance your international adoption here.

If you’re thinking of adoption internationally, but are wondering what risks are involved, read this helpful article.

Still Considering Different Countries?

Adoptions currently aren’t possible in Romania. Learn why.

However, adoptions are starting to open up in Russia again. Here are some tips.

And if you have your heart set on adopting from Brazil, it is possible, although you may find some challenges along the way. Read more here.

Parenting Tips

Are you single and thinking of adopting? There are advantages to single parenting. Read about them here.

Also, learn why you should avoid helicopter parenting.

Have a blessed Christmas, and may all your dreams come true in 2010!

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