Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in the Counselor’s Office… (and I was the counselor!)
As I look back over the last 20-odd years of working with those touched by adoption, I am awed and humbled by how little I knew about how to help people during these dramatic times until they themselves taught me.
In this article, I would like to share some “gems” I have learned from the folks who had to actually LIVE the process that I watched and, sometimes, facilitated.
For Adoptive Parents
- Seek out and listen to someone who has had a rougher time than you. You’ll get perspective on your present situation, and maybe make some new friends.
- Keep a journal of your years of fertility treatment and waiting for the placement. It will be such a gift for your child, and it will help you to write what you feel.
- Do something fun at least once a week with your spouse that isn’t related to conceiving, birthing, parenting, or adopting. Also, get a hobby that will require your creative focus and keep at it (even during the pre-placement weeks).
- Think up some funny answers (or at least some stock phrases) for the questions you always get asked. It helps if you consume a bottle of during this exercise.
- Write a letter of thanks to the birth family and others who cared for, and about, your child on the days before your placement, and every birthday after that.
- Celebrate the day you received your child and the day you finalized.
- Make a real commitment to keep contact with a circle of friends who have children through adoption. In ten years it will be very important to your children.
- Make a storybook with photos about your child’s life – birth parents, previous caretakers, your life before placement, anything you can think of that preserves connections for the child.