My last post was about some of the biggest challenges facing adopters. I don’t want to be seen as a glass is half empty chap, so wanted to provide you with this brief list of amazing rewards and benefits for adopters.
You become a parent
An obvious statement I know, but for those seemingly condemned to a life of childlessness through something other than choice, adoption provides a bright light in an otherwise dark and murky tunnel.
In my own brief experience as a father I can honestly say it has been better than I ever imagined. Our young son has not just filled the gap in our lives; he has changed, enriched and enthralled us.
But that is true of every child to every parent…
A child gets a much needed home
What is unique to adoption is not the impact on your life, but the impact it has on the child.
It is true that we went into adoption with a somewhat selfish agenda; to become parents, but we soon realised adoption is about the children.
There are around 60,000 looked after children in the England, all in need of a good loving home. I have been criticised before for feeling proud that I have given a child a home, but I maintain that it is hugely rewarding for adopters.
You fall in love all over again
Call me sentimental, but you can rarely benefit from a better reward than falling in love. Of course, most parents love their children, but with adoptive parents, sometime that love takes time.
It has been said that the love of an adopted child is more akin to a marriage than a child. You meet them, you like them, you spend more time with them, you eventually love them.
It is a big reward for adopters, but also for the child. Even if that love is not quite reciprocated, you can be safe in the knowledge that by loving them, you are by definition caring for them, possibly in a way they have never had.
You help a child form attachments
Adopted children typically struggle to form bonds and attachments. It is through the consistent love, care and routine that adoptive parents can help adopted children experience a feeling of permanence that was not there before.
This is hugely rewarding for adopters. Experiencing the tiny little improvements in the carer-child relationship may seem insignificant to others, but you will know it is huge steps for your child.
A child can overcome complicated fears
A child’s fear of the dark stems from the unknown. When looking at it through the eyes of adoptive parents, it becomes multi-faceted.
A fear of the dark may originate from a previous experience in the child’s life, and the adoptive parents role therefore changes, often in subtle measures, to ensure their child’s unique fear is managed and hopefully overcome.
You learn more about adoption
UK adoption is a topic that can truly expand your mind. I genuinely believe I am a better parent because of what I have learned through the adoption process, as well as many of the books I have read and courses attended.
I have received an education because of adoption, and scrutinise Government policy on various topics with an insight I never would have had without adoption.
For many that may not be a reward, but to me, it certainly is a benefit for adopters.
You can give your current child a sibling
This I suppose it a very specific reward depending on the family dynamic you have in your house. We only adopted one child, often people adopt siblings.
For some people, adoption in the UK presents them with an opportunity to give their son or daughter the wonderful gift of a sibling.
I know not all brothers and sisters get on, so I claim this as a benefit with rose tinted glasses on. I had great fun with my brother growing up, and a sibling bond can be magical for both parties. Yes, adopting a child into a family who already has a child poses many questions and potential risks, but when it is done right, and every piece of the puzzle fits, it can be very rewarding for adopters, and indeed the whole family.
You gain a unique sense of achievement
What I mean by this is the completion of the adoption process. It is perhaps a bit cold to end the list of benefits and rewards for adopters on this sentiment, but I think it should be here.
The UK adoption process is pretty gruelling, and many people don’t see it through. To get to the end, even before we consider the child in this process, is a big achievement. The sense of that process being concluded should be a big reward to adopters.
I know adoption is about the children. The process to become an approved adopter in the UK is difficult, and many are put off. The reward; the ultimate reward is sharing your life with someone who needs it. Whatever your reason to adopt and however unattractive some make it, the reward of sharing your life far outweighs the cost.