Intimidated by Adopting? Why You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
November 23, 2022 –Many people are intimidated when they think about adopting a child. Will I be a good enough role model? Will I provide well enough? What if I lose my temper or make a huge mistake in front of them? Well, let us be the first to say, none of these things should deter you from pursuing adoption. In fact, here’s the big secret: you are going to mess up!
Jennifer Meyer works for FosterAdopt Connect as a Family Training Specialist. She is also an adoptive parent. Jennifer and her husband, Dale, were foster parents for six years before adopting their daughter, E, a week before her second birthday. She has grown up in an environment of love and acceptance with the Meyers, and has also been able to maintain a relationship with her biological parents. But as much as Jennifer and Dale appear to be rock stars as parents, (and are, in our opinion), she’s the first to admit that they are far from perfect.
“My husband and I have made lots of mistakes!” she says. “When we first adopted our daughter, contact with her biological mother was through our lawyer. One day, Dale got a call from our lawyer with the biological mom’s address asking that we send pictures. Unfortunately, Dale’s filing system at the time was a pizza box on the counter. Before either of us thought to copy the address down on something a little more permanent, the pizza box was thrown away! Luckily we were able to reach out on Facebook and communicate with her there.”
As funny as that story is in retrospect, there are plenty of other more painful ones that made the Meyers question their effectiveness as adoptive parents at times. Everyone who adopts goes through that, and in fact, we consider it a sign that they care deeply enough to strive to be the best parents they can be. But, again, the willingness to love a child no matter what and to show up consistently in their lives is so much more important than being perfect. And, according to Jenn, having a community to fall back on goes a long way as well.
“For as much training as you get, there are still going to be surprises and challenges,” she says. “I’m so lucky that I have a group of people who are adoptive parents that I can talk to. It makes all the difference in the world if you have someone who understands what you are going through and knows how to handle it.”
E is now nine years old, and is thriving as a member of the Meyer family.
“I love being a mama, so getting this opportunity to watch her grow in our family is such a blessing. It’s been so much fun to see what traits she has from our family, and what traits she has from her biological parents.”
Families are messy, even the best ones. But adopting a child means accepting them into the messiness of your life to show them that they are loved, valued, and allowed to not be perfect themselves.
“There are so many families that have so much love to give, not only to the children, but to their biological families as well. Adopting is a journey that will challenge and frustrate you, but bring you so much joy and love. You can make a difference in someone’s life!”
During Adoption Month, we’re highlighting how small steps can make all the difference for the thousands of youth in foster care. Help open doors for youth on their path to permanency through adoption and contact us here.