I had thought to tell some specific stories, but these tales were troubling some of the contributors as they relived their struggles and glimpsed the way their parents have viewed them.
So I have decided to summarize the experiences of the foster-to-adopt kids that I know.
There are only ten of them that are now adults, so it’s far from being a scientific body of evidence. But still there are compelling trends.
Half have been able to plough through and thrive with little more than the ordinary insecurities kids and teens suffer from. Three of these are talented writers, manifesting an eagerness to express themselves. These have “stuck with the program,” remained committed to their Church and its teachings and principles.
|Inta, 10, and Knolly, 8, enjoy each other’s company and share a special sibling bond. These active girls are looking for a nurturing family who will let them grow up together.|
The other half seemed to have struggled more severely. Three have been addicted to illegal drugs and/or become alcoholics and two have been involved in crime. Three have completely separated themselves from the Church they were (mostly) raised in. I note that in each of those cases, they had siblings that were not adopted who also chose those paths, so it would be an error to blame those choices on their adoption.
Each one that has had problems with substance abuse had a biological parent with addictions. HOWEVER, not all the biological children of addicts or alcoholics developed those problems.
Some have manifested emotional struggles that lead to self-injury. Two have expressed the sense often held by children adopted as infants that they were snatched from their mothers and that their mothers were searching for them. (That was far from the truth in both cases).
I see no pattern related to when they were adopted. Some adopted as older children have thrived and others, adopted older have struggled. The same is true of those adopted as infants. They have no memory of abuse or in some cases went into the foster-adopt program straight from the hospital, but some have managed to skate through pretty easily and others have not.
Each of these adopted kids that have responded directly to me have expressed being troubled by the sense that they were treated and loved differently than biological children. One expressed it as feeling like a “project” rather than an equally loved family member. Of those that did not respond to my questions, I would be surprised if they felt that way because of the seamless way they seemed to interact with their families.
One has had a VERY hard time, (worst case scenerio) but is currently genuinely striving to overcome the past and to choose the path that will lead to a happy fulfilled life.
Among the parents: Some have expressed that it was much harder than they expected.
Others have the gift to love her adopted children with absolute equality.
Another expressed that she did always feel the difference between her biological children and the adopted.
I’d be blasted if I were a scientist, but when does that ever stop an opinionated person from expressing an opinion? Here are my conclusions
The more fully the parents are invested in parenting, the more secure their children will be. Notice that I don’t stipulate “adopted” or otherwise. But it holds true in each case. If the mother especially is busy with many personal pursuits and interests and the children are just one of her responsibilities, ALL children suffer. If the children are the centerpiece of a mother’s life, her hope and joy and those that cause her to lie awake at night, the more likely that the children will be able to overcome their trials, doubts, weaknesses and insecurities without too much permanent damage.
|Kimberly and Mark Woolpert responded to the need for families for Native American children by adopting nine children with tribal heritage.|
If you’re thinking of adopting a child for the status of it, warning! The child will know. He’ll be damaged by thinking of themselves as adornment.
If you’re thinking of adopting because you want children in your family and you want to make your family the centerpiece of your life, around which all other concerns rotate, the children will know. It will give them confidence and courage. It will help them to love and to accept love.
Don’t do it as a project.
Do it for love. Be ready to sacrifice yourself to help your child through the hard times ahead.
Most importantly, if you pray to our Loving Heavenly Father to plead for the ability to love fully and equally, that is a blessing that He’s eager to bestow. You’ll feel the change and the softening in your heart.
A prayer to love better is always quickly answered.
Here’s the link you’ll find interesting if you’re even thinking about adoption.