The adoption disillusionment

Contemplation

There are many positive things about adoption. However one of the aspects that isn’t talked about much is the intense feeling of disappointment and disillusionment that can come, particularly early on. For most of us who come to adoption it’s through a long, painful and arduous journey. The struggles of disappointment at not conceiving, watching our friends fall pregnant, have their children and start to raise them, the anguish of IVF or other treatments and then the intrusive and sometimes long process of adoption. Then once we have travelled this roller coaster of an emotional journey we are handed children – 1, 2 or maybe 3 in our case. From 0-3 overnight it seems (even though the journey there was already a long one).

The feelings we ‘should’ feel may be hard to find. We are told how lucky we are and this is what we wanted all along – and we are aware that our feelings may be all over the place and not very trustworthy in those first few months, even years maybe. Is this what we signed up for? Can we cope as parents to these traumatised children? Why are the feelings of love not flowing like we thought they would? And how come we’re not a normal family now like our friends are?

I’ve been around adoption enough now to know that each families experience is unique – but there are similarities in some of our stories. We can take comfort from the fact that even though we are unprepared massively for the realities of adoption, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We can see others further on than us who have weathered the storm and found a way to accept their lot and to find the joy that comes in the morning. There’s a part of the bible that talks about the pain in the night but joy following in the morning. When you’re in the pitch black of the night the light of the morning seems a million miles away BUT it does come eventually. The morning may not look as you expected but it is there.

If you have a faith in God or in something outside of yourself then I urge you, if you are in the throws of those difficult times of disappointment and disillusionment to hang in there. Keep coming to God and surrendering your will to His. If you don’t have a faith then look inside yourself and find that resilience, find the value at your core that led you to adopt in the first place. Whatever the outcome of our decisions I know that adoption can be a positive and joyous thing. There are many times in my daily experiences where the disappointment and disillusionment returns but I also know the peace and the joy that can come from a life striving to make a difference to a child’s life.

If you are right in the middle of the night right now I hope you find comfort in knowing many others have been or are going through it too. I wish we could prepare people better for the shock of this feeling when and if it happens, but we all have to trend our own journey and find our own peace in it. I pray today you find peace.

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