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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Parent, or Adoptive Parent?

happy-child-175Until you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes….  I’ve never been a bio parent, but I am an adoptive parent.  When my kids introduce me, they never say, “And this is my adoptive mom, Alexandra.”  But as parents, do we think of ourselves as parents, or a-parents?

I believe most of us would simply think of ourselves as parents, and our children as our children.  Period.  But there are certain issues which come to bear from a variety of standpoints that might place us on high alert for behaviors which stem from the trauma or neglect of an adoptive background, as opposed to just normal adolescent adjustment problems, or teen troubles.

For instance, if you’re a bio parent, as well, you might have a better benchmark of normalcy than a non-bio-parent.dinner  Or, first-time parents who have been exposed to young people through relatives, or teaching, or youth groups, might also have a good grasp of what’s standard fare and what’s not.  You may experience distinct differences with an adopted child that were never present with the bio-child, and hence, that affects how you view yourself.

Adoptive parent.  Or just parent.

A lot could also depend on the age at which you brought home your child.  No, not your age.  Theirs.  Although if I’m this hyper at this advanced age, I’m quite thankful that I didn’t adopt at a much younger age….

Optimized-happy-family-ADHDSay that you adopt a baby or toddler.  While there could definitely be grief issues in any baby adopted over a few months old, say the experts, there’s less for them to unlearn, let’s say.  The child seems more like “yours”, mirroring your habits, your values, fitting in with your family from a young age.

Or not.

Your mileage may vary (YMMV).

An older child who comes crashing into the home, wreaking havoc here, there, and everywhere, may definitely cause you to question your identity as parent.

Who is this child, and why is he/she in my home???

But eventually, with lots of help and understanding, most settle down.  Some may never acclimate themselves to life Happy-family-fatheroutside the orphanage, or life off of the street, and you face a very rocky future with them.  Will they one day just disappear and go their sad way, or will you be receiving calls from the police for the rest of your life?

These are the great issues.  Much depends on the child and how they are attaching.  If they hold you at arm’s length, you wonder what you could have done differently.

Most days, nothing.  As any parent going through struggles, it is what it is.  Some days, you hope for the best, while preparing for the worst.  Occasionally, you get to breathe and relax.  In the best case scenario, you couldn’t imagine that this child has ever NOT been with you, they are so loving, kind, and a joy to be around.

In our family, we probably have some of all of the above.  For the most part, yes, even our children adopted at older ages, and into a family with no bio-children, have done well and thrived.

Hello, my name is Alexandra, and I am their adoptive parent.  (Adoptive is crossed through in case it can’t be seen in your browser, lol.)



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7 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar admin says:

    One of our readers suggests that moms needing a chuckle watch the William Tell Overture performed mom-style (very funny): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0ZpuA8_YYk&feature=youtube_gdata_player.

  2. avatar Winnie says:

    Yeah, I hate the adoptive parent thing. I don’t go around telling people my son is adopted and he doesn’t think of me as anything other than “mean ‘ole Mom who makes him eat vegetables”
    I remember years ago meeting an old boss of my husband’s – before he was his boss – he was showing off the pictures of his wife and kids in his office like any proud dad but for some reason he felt the need to add that three of his four kids were adopted. One child it was obvious – child Korean, parents not, the other two nobody would have ever known. Even then, long before my entry into the adoption world I thought that was very strange to mention that his kids were adopted to a complete stranger you’ve only known for 5 minutes.

    Later when we were going through our adoption he and his wife were in a panic for us, they were supportive but I think they worried more than we did as they had an alphabet of dx for a couple of their children and worried we’d soon join them in the boat.

    • avatar admin says:

      What can you say, Winnie? We all try to “help” in our own special way…. 🙂

      The interracial thing is so funny, I mean, really??? Gee, we never would have figured that out, lol.

  3. avatar Sybil says:

    Just a thought on the “boss” that mentioned that 4 of his kids are adopted. Perhaps he feels that it is better that he say what he did and is in the habit of it for a reason. Many people say to us, “oh, a whoopsie” because we are older parents with a daughter who is 25 years younger than our next youngest. The Boss might have heard something like, “is the milkman Asian?” so many times that he felt it was better for him just to say something up front instead of hearing stupid remarks in from of him and/or his child. By saying 4 of his are adopted, he is not necessarily pointing out any one child who may not like being singled out.

    • avatar admin says:

      Good point, Sybil. Plus, a number of a-parents are so delighted with their kids that they want everyone to know about the possibility of adopting.

      In our case, when a young boy (almost 8) showed up after 25 years of work- work- work and flying- flying- flying here and there, he became the youngest of the top frequent fliers. Airline magazines wanted to do stories on him, but we opted out of the publicity. People who saw us several times a week just assumed that he was a grandchild visiting my husband, lol. It was around spring break when he came home…. 🙂

  4. avatar Sam says:

    My kiddos are biologically mine — but pretty much everybody thinks they’re adopted if I’m out with the girlies alone! My twins look exactly like their Chinese-Canadian daddy and nothing like me (freckly, redheaded, pale as a communion wafer Irish).

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