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We make choices every day. Our choices are what define us. Whether it’s finalizing your Starbucks order or picking your major in college, choices forever alter your fate. Afterwards, we must live with the consequences of our actions.

Just like any big decision, choosing adoption can cause inner turmoil. Adoption paves the way for a brand new future — a life with more than one person involved. The process doesn’t just change you, it transforms your entire world perception. You won’t be looking at your life with one pair of eyes, but two.

Many prospective adoptive parents are completely ready to jump right in and adopt. They’ve been planning for years — picking the perfect wall color for their baby’s room, buying the fuzziest teddy bear, and preparing their applications far in advance. These adoptive parents feel prepared to handle whatever adoption throws at them, and they block out any hints of doubt or hesitation.

Not everyone is like that. In fact, most adoptive parents aren’t like that. Adoption can be frightening on both ends, and some people are plagued with incessant fears and hounded by worrisome “what ifs.” Yet although several communities acknowledge the struggles of an adopted child, people neglect to realize that the process is difficult for prospective parents as well.

During the adoption process, you may be faced with adversity you won’t know how to manage. However, life is about experiencing the highs and the lows. Adoption Choices of Oklahoma wants to give you the tools you need to power through the rough times, and soar through the good ones. That’s why we’re simultaneously exposing the myths about adoption and revealing the truth behind the importance of self care.

Myth #1: Adoption will be easy  

Closing one chapter in your life, and moving onto the next, is rarely straightforward. With adoption, you’re doing more than turning the page to the next chapter. In fact, you’re throwing out your life’s prequel and moving onto a whole new book.

Adoption presents parents with many issues that they aren’t equipped to deal with. Believe it or not, it’s possible to feel both unbelievably excited and terrified at the same time. Leaving behind your old life takes a lot of bravery. You are embarking into uncharted territory, and blazing a route through the darkness is never easy. Nagging questions must wait to be answered, because the only thing promised is the future’s uncertainty.

While deserting your old life is hard enough, the entire adoption process can introduce even more challenges. From complex application processes to frustrating waiting times, many parents underestimate how discouraged they might become.

These obstacles are already demanding and exhausting to overcome, and many parents are still accompanied by plenty of help during these periods. Once the adoption goes through, however, adoptive parents may feel alone as they begin their life with their little one.

Undertaking the bumpy journey of parenthood leads to drastic ups and downs. It’s rewarding, incredible, magical, nerve-wracking, draining, and distressing all at once. But it’s not easy. So it’s important to prepare in advance for turbulent times.

Myth #2: Adoption will be too hard

Put simply, adoption is about the extraordinary bond between a parent and a child. It may seem daunting, but the connection is worth it in the end. The rough memories will fade into the background as happier ones replace them.

The key to overcoming difficulties, at any point in life, is self-care. You are the only one that can fully understand your own thoughts, emotions, and actions. Rather than repressing suffering, acknowledging your struggles is the first step in recovery.

Intense love for a child leads parents to prioritize their baby at all costs. While this instinct cannot be ignored, it too often replaces self-care. Neglecting your own peace of mind will ultimately impact everyone around you. Once you realize your own worth, caring for others will be about sharing love rather than giving away a piece of yourself.

Self-love comes in many different forms. It may be spending a night alone, making some tea, and curling up to watch an episode of Netflix. Oftentimes, treating yourself is not enough. Support networks — from steady friends to helpful professionals — are essential. As you look out for your child, remember to ask yourself: who’s looking out for me?

Myth #3: You won’t get along with your child

The fear of rejection is inherent in humanity. We love to belong, to connect to others. It’s natural to dread your child’s reaction to your parenting. Even though disagreements are inevitable, tension is not always a bad thing. Arguments are what help people comprehend others, broaden their perspective, and gain empathy.

Relationships are all about the give and take. As you learn from your child, they will learn from you. If you’re open about who you are, flaws and all, you can compromise with your child and work on improving together.

Some things are out of your hands. As long as you provide as much care and love to your child as you possibly can, they will eventually see your commitment to them and respect your endless efforts.

Dispelling myths about adoption

Myths can be debilitating. These baseless rumors lead people to freeze. They refuse to make a choice at all, in order to avoid making a bad one.

At the end of the day, we all need to make choices in order to keep progressing throughout life. Ultimately, we can either take hold of our life or let life move us along unwillingly. Rather than submitting to these tumultuous currents, you can learn to swim.

After choosing to adopt, you’ll face difficult experiences that may come along unexpectedly. Yet no matter what, you can arm yourself with courage and self-respect. By appreciating your strengths and tending to your weaknesses, you can grow into a better version of yourself. Self-love is a perpetual process. As you get better at caring for yourself, you’ll get better at caring for those around you.

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma

If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.

However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.

About the Author

Kenneal Patterson

Kenneal Patterson is a sophomore at Northeastern University in Boston. She is currently studying Journalism and Political Science, with a minor in Global Health. She is honored to work with Adoption Choices, and hopes that her journalism will inspire others to be more empathetic and kind. She thinks that writing can convey important messages of hope and love, and wants to share these messages with others.

Kenneal spends her summers at home in Golden, Colorado, with her many cats and dogs. She is eternally grateful to those who read her work!

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