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Managing Expectations During Your Adoption Process

Human beings are accustomed to having expectations. We like to plan so we’re not surprised by unwanted or unexpected situations. When it comes to adoption, we would love to have the ability to foresee the final outcome, but in reality, that’s just not possible. So how do you deal with the consequences when aspects of your adoption process don’t go the way you thought they would? 

The adoption journey invites parents to let go and release their expectations to focus on what’s most important: the child’s needs. Everyone has unrealistic expectations from time to time. To reduce feelings of disappointment and helplessness, we have some suggestions for ways to build your support team so that you can maneuver through the ups and downs of your adoption process with clarity and ease.

First things first: invest in a therapist. Emotions run rampant during the adoption process, and it’s imperative that you have an outlet for processing what’s going on in your mind and in your life. Finding a therapist who is familiar with the adoption process will help you navigate the ins and outs of yours. Not only can a therapist offer you an empathetic ear and solid advice, but the work you do together will allow you to be more present for yourself and your other relationships. Including your child, when they arrive. 

Be extremely honest with your adoption team — that includes every member of the triad. Getting comfortable with each other will help make the process less scary and ease the fear of the unknown. Communication at every stage is crucial, and if you are participating in an open adoption, make sure that your expectations and desires are known so that everyone is crystal clear on what to expect before the process even begins. 

Keep your expectations honest. Hold space for the best and worst case scenarios, because there is no way to truly know how your journey will end. You will likely feel high highs, alongside moments of fear and confusion. Preparing yourself for the wide spectrum of emotions and expectations that come with the adoption process is paramount. Stay tune with how you’re feeling, communicate with your partner and loved ones, give yourself outlets for expressing how you feel, and always lead with honesty. You’ve got this!