Lessons Learned Part 3
Sharon Roszia M.S.
- Nature and Nurture are Siamese twins. We cannot change who we are genetically but our environment can either help us blossom to our fullest or limit us in development of our true selves. The less history we have, the more our children will experiment as they look for their true nature and talents. If you are a rose and are raising a succulent, raise the healthiest succulent in the garden by learning about what they need from other succulents. You can’t pretend your child is a rose!
- Adopted persons can be more sensitive to loss and change. Plan for change as much as you can. Even good change can be difficult for one with a history of loss. Even if your child came home at one day of age, they have had a loss of the woman they heard and related to in the pregnancy.
- Adoption built families are like all other families but have additional specific tasks attached to it; I call them the “and alsos”! One such task is knowing when and how to talk to children about their adoption and history. The child then has the task of understanding what is told. This task takes many years to complete. Our children should own all their history before they leave home; even the painful parts!
- Children will change us; expose us to new and interesting experiences and offer us a unique chance to grow and stretch.
- Parents are the leaders of the dance in a family and must not give up that role but can occasionally share the role with other adults they trust and even with the child as they mature. Many adoptive parents are afraid to discipline and so let the child run the family. They may be afraid of the child’s reactions or may want to be loved by the child and can create an unruly little person. Children do better when their parents set a firm construct and discipline fairly and consistently. The only thing you can do wrong is to give up your role totally. We set the tone of our family; children can see when we are upset, stressed, angry or confused. It is OK to feel these emotions, but talk about them, and teach your children how to handle them as well.
- Everything that happens to us and for our children, except death, is “for now”. Don’t project too far into the future.
- When you adopt trans-racially, you become a non-white family. (Usually it is white parents adopting children of color.) Our children of a different race need role models of their own race to develop a strong racial identity. Check out your neighborhood, family and friends, school teachers, church or temple members and see if your child sees himself anywhere? Move if you have to.
- All parents wait a long time for a “report card” and any thank yous. The gifts we get by being touched by adoption may not come for many years.
- Adoption today has so many books, magazines and conferences available to all members of the adoptive community and taking part is extremely helpful over the years. The people I have met are my dearest friends. We talk the same language.
- This adoption journey is the hardest, the most joyful, the most growth producing, and constantly changing experience!
Sharon is available for consultations by SKYPE and in person. She teaches classes, consults with agencies, runs support groups and a professional mentoring group. She resides in Southern California. For more information, please visit her website www.sharonroszia.com