By Dyan Roosma, IACD Treatment Mom
I have stood before a judge and sworn to love and care for children that were not born of my own body more than once.
We chose to bring each of these people into our family. It was, and still is, a beautiful thing.
Our unique family has brought many joys—and challenges— that we were completely unprepared to handle. But like many families, we learned, grew, and faced them head on with tears and laughter.
WHAT I WISH I KNEW THEN:
- I am not, and never will be, their birth moms. Are you facing this reality right now? No matter what she did (or didn’t do), she gave your child life. That’s something you can’t change. Your child may resent you because you’re not “her”. Your child doesn’t even know why she feels this way. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to understand. The key to a solid relationship with your child is to understand the pain he carries deep within. Pick up a copy of the book The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier—it’s a great start.
- My relationships with my birth children are different. They just are. I can’t change that fact. It’s a cellular difference. It doesn’t mean I love my adopted children less. It just means our relationships are different. And that’s okay. Along the way, I’ve learned to recognize that there’s nothing I’ve done, or haven’t done, to make this so. That realization has built my confidence so I can meet each of my children’s individual needs.
- Bonding and attachment can happen at any age. My 22-year-old and I are still working to bond and attach. We get closer as mother and son each time we see each other. It’s never too late. Our kids get a delayed start. That means we need to keep at it. As parents of kids with attachment disorder, they’ll need us to help them fully grow and mature into the beautiful people they are (long after they leave our homes).
- My kids teach me as much as I teach them. Outsiders often praise parents of kids with attachment issues for their patience. Do we think of ourselves as patient people? I know I never did. That’s just one of the many lessons I have learned from my precious children. I have also learned about forgiveness, kindness, joy in adversity…shall I go on?
- If I had known these things earlier, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. This knowledge just would’ve made the ride a bit smoother.
While I am no longer the wide-eyed optimist I once was, my opinion remains the same. Adoption is a beautiful thing.
We’re hiring therapeutic treatment parents. Read about a “day in the life”.