Processing adoption through writing is a powerful tool for adoptive parents to work through their emotions and experiences, share their stories, and ultimately, be the best parents they can be for their adopted children.
I’m sure it’s not a surprise that writing is a key way that I process adoption as well as numerous other aspects of my life. It’s an easy, affordable, and powerful tool for working through your emotions and experiences.
Going through the process of adoption and parenting adopted children isn’t easy, even when it’s something you desire and the circumstances are good. Given the current situation in the world, the circumstances for adoption are less than ideal for numerous families. If your fertility or adoption journey is stalled right now or you’re in a dark place with your journey, I highly encourage you to use writing as a tool. It will help you work through the tough stuff and give you a much-needed outlet to vent your frustrations.
Processing adoption through writing and finding other positive outlets for your emotions and experiences is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your kids. It enables you to remain in a good state of mind and ultimately, be a great parent.
Working through emotions
Arguably, one of the toughest ongoing aspects of adoption is the emotions involved. While the emotional rollercoaster of the first few years will slow down over time, there will always be difficult emotions involved with adoption. You’ll experience occasional triggers over the years, some of which will be tougher to deal with than others.
Putting your thoughts into writing helps you work through these emotions. The writing act itself often proves therapeutic. It will help you identify coping strategies and other ways you can process these emotions.
Putting yourself in a better place to help your kids
One mistake that a lot of adoptive parents make it not realizing how much they project their own fears, concerns, and hang-ups about adoption onto their kids. If you freeze up every time your son asks you about his birth mom and you won’t ever talk about her, your son will learn to avoid the topic completely. Not having an outlet at home to talk about his birth mom may lead to negative consequences down the road.
The more you can do to process your own emotions, the better a place you’ll be in to help your kids. One of the biggest gifts you can give your adopted children is a safe place to talk about any and all aspects of adoption. When your kids know they can come to you with questions, they’re less likely to turn to their friends and the internet. It may not be comfortable talking about your son’s birth mom. However, it’s a lot better to have that conversation together than to leave your son speculating, talking to his friends, or searching for answers online.
Revisiting key moments of the adoption process
As major adoption events are unfolding, they all seem so clear, like every tiny detail will be preserved in your memory forever. Over time, a lot of the story may fade. Having it in writing allows you to revisit it any time you like. I also recommend documenting as much as you can through pictures.
Paying it forward by sharing your story and creating resources for other adoptive parents
One of the biggest reasons I share as much as I do about adoption is to pay it forward. There are a lot of great adoption resources that helped me when we first decided to pursue adoption. We were able to learn a lot about the infant domestic adoption process. It also gave me hope to read successful adoption stories. I want to do the same for other adoptive families.
I also share parts of our adoption story publicly because I truly believe we wouldn’t be here today with an adopted son without a lot of prayers. There are so many people who are familiar with our infertility struggles. They have prayed for us for many years and continue to pray for us as we wait for baby #2. It only feels right to share a little bit of the adoption process and our son’s post-adoption story.
Confronting difficult aspects of growing your family through adoption
Many couples pursue adoption after years of facing infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy loss. Most likely you’ve already spent years trying to grow your family. Your path looks very different from anything you ever imagined when you were first married.
Adoption is a way to grow a family. It’s not a fix to infertility. It doesn’t magically heal the wounds of miscarriage and pregnancy loss. While grief does fade over time, it never completely goes away.
Adoption also comes with its own really tough experiences. You’re taking your child home from the hospital while the mom who gave birth is going home alone. Some of the best days in your life will be some of the roughest for the birth mom. Having someone else choose you to be a parent is one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever receive. It’s not something most of us will ever feel truly worthy of receiving. There’s a lot to process. Writing about it can help.
Adoption is one part of your life. You don’t want adoption to be your entire identity. Writing about adoption provides an outlet for you, so it doesn’t become your complete identity.
Similarly, you don’t want adoption to be your child’s entire identity. The more effectively you find balance in your own life, the better you’ll be able to help your child do the same. Your child should be able to decide how much he shares about his adoption and when he may or may not want to share specific details with specific people.
Discovering new information
Processing adoption through writing may lead to breakthroughs about adoption or just about yourself. When you write a journal entry or blog post about adoption, it may not always go where you think it’s going to go. This can be a good thing. Give yourself this flexibility to allow for discovery.
Concerns/questions about sharing your adoption writing publicly
There are a couple of common concerns adoptive parents have about processing adoption through writing, specifically when they share their writing publicly.
Deciding how much you want to share publicly
Let me be clear that you shouldn’t ever feel like you have to share publicly. You don’t owe it to anyone to do so. You may find that you open up more when you know no one else will be reading it.
On the flip side, there are advantages to sharing your writing. Even if you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have any interest in creating a public blog, you may want to share your writing with friends and family or other adoptive parents.
There’s also nothing wrong with doing both. You can have a public adoption blog and still write in a private journal, too. It’s important to do what works best for you and your family. As you think about processing adoption through writing and how you’ll go about it, consider the following aspects of sharing your content publicly.
Open adoption component
If you have an open adoption, it’s especially important to think about how much you share. If nothing else, you must protect the birth families’ privacy. Most likely if you’re in an open adoption, you’ve already talked about whether or not you’ll share pictures and other identifying information online. If you don’t have explicit permission to share photos and names, don’t. You can still talk about open adoption without revealing a lot of specific details about your personal situation.
Handling questions and comments
Inevitably, posting about adoption publicly does lead to questions and comments from people you do know as well as people you don’t know. Personally, I’ve found that limiting adoption content to my blog and my blog social media channels and keeping it off of my personal Facebook profile significantly limits the number of weird and offensive questions and unsolicited commentary I get from family and friends. People who want to seek out my content and actually learn more about adoption will do so. People who don’t won’t make the effort.
Adoptive parents, as always, I’d love your perspective on this topic!
Is processing adoption through writing an effective strategy for you?
Are there other ways you work through your adoption-related emotions and experiences?
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More adoption resources:
Head to the adoption section of the blog for additional adoption resources, including waiting to adopt and open adoption resources, and to learn more about our adoption journey.