What Is Adoption?
The Child's Perspective
It is important to focus on adoption through the eyes of the child. Although the outcome of adoption may be a very positive experience for the child, filled with love and security, there are, for the child, no "happy" ways to come to adoption. The very fact that a child needs an adoptive family usually means that something unpleasant has already happened in that child's life. They may have been born to biological parents who were not prepared to meet their needs and for many reasons cannot parent at this time. Their biological parent may have been ill or deceased. The child may have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Their biological parent's pregnancy may have been the result of rape or an abusive relationship. By the time an adoption occurs, each child's life has been touched by loss and grief.
Children are often given adult explanations they are unable to understand. For example, adoptive parents and social workers may look at a birth parent's decision to make an adoption plan as a wonderful, unselfish decision. The birth parents have made the difficult choice to place their child's needs above their own. Because this adult concept makes perfect sense to the adults involved, we often forget a child's view. Another example, a child may have been abused by a biological parent but may still remember being read to at bedtime by that same biological parent, feeling safe and loved. A child's concept of why people come to adoption may be very different from those concepts held by the adoptive parents. This may result in the child not feeling understood and feeling very alone.
As an adoptive parent, it is essential that you, the legal and care-giving parent, see the value of the biological parent as your child sees it. How does one respect someone who has abused a child or someone who has possibly made some poor life choices? We all have members of our biological family or spouse's family whose behaviors at times are not acceptable to us. While we may not accept some of their behaviors, we still accept them as people to be valued, respected and loved; they are, after all, our family. We know that even though a certain relative may have made a poor choice or possibly done something we consider bad, they have many "good" qualities, too. Likewise, taking the time to find out about the "good points" of your child's biological relatives will assist you in respecting the roles that each person has played in your child's life.
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