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Think twice before adopting

 
Would you cope if parenting your adopted child wasn’t as easy as you expected?
Marlon Abrahams
By Marlon Abrahams

Pic: Jade Photography

Article originally in Parent24
I don’t know if it’s accurate to say “fortunate” or “blessed” to have relatively normal kids, but I have. I mean they have all their bits where their bits are meant to be and mentally they tick over nicely and on time. I had a few responses via my inbox to my column about special needs kids which drove home the absolute dedication and commitment required to parent a special needs kid- again I just want to commend those parents. Recently, however, two readers have shared their experiences of adoption which made me think and wonder how I would handle a somewhat errant child acquired via adoption.

Extra challenges if adoptive parents separate

In the one instance it sounds like the kid has a hectic case of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). To add spice to the scenario, the child was adopted by the couple when they were married, however, they have since gone their separate ways and the woman now has to raise a little dervish on her own. When she describes the effects of ADD to me in her emails, I am exhausted just reading it. And I don’t mean it in a bad way; I feel for parents who have to put in even extra hours to take care of their own. But, the point I find myself wondering about is how would I cope if my adopted child had characteristics or behavioural issues which he/she might have inherited from its biological parents. (I don’t mean ADD, as I don’t think that’s hereditary).

There is no option B


The other single mom I chat to from time to time adopted (also while she was married) two teenagers from vastly separate backgrounds. The one kid is an AIDS orphan and the other’s biological mother is a drug addict. There is no doubt in my mind that their adoptive mother has gone a million extra miles for these kids and continues to do so daily. The financial and social sacrifices she’s had to make speak volumes about her commitment to her decision to adopt.

When things were going a bit pear-shaped with the kids one day, I asked her if she regrets her decision to adopt, she looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. She’s in it for the right reasons and willing to go the whole hog. Someone posted a message on Facebook about parenting the other day which read: “Having a kid is like having a tattoo on your face, it requires total commitment and it lasts forever.”

Clearly the same applies to adoption, hence the caution to think, think and think again. We have no guarantees that our kids won’t evolve into wayward delinquents or worse and sometimes it’s easier to handle their “afflictions” because they share our own DNA. Adoption is a noble cause, but as in “real parenting” it demands an even greater commitment to going the extra mile. I put the parents of these adoptive kids in the same category of parents of special needs kids, ‘cos you have to be pretty damned special to adopt a kid and provide for it and love it like your own!

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Do you agree that adopting a child can require even more of a commitment?


 
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