Expectations are powerful beliefs which can heavily influence our experience of reality. During the wait to become a parent, being it through birth or adoption, it’s human to develop expectations about your future child. It’s all part of the common daydreaming.
It can be really tough to let go of the imaginary child and truly accept who your child really is. My first experience as a mother was really positive and my daughter fulfilled most of my expectations. She has been an easy child so far, more compliant than most kids, smart, and fun to be with. My boy is a different story. He joined the family through international adoption when he was 20 months old and the experience wasn’t easy for him. Since then, I have been fighting my own expectations to learn to love and like who he really is.
I was reading a post on Facebook the other day. A mother who welcomed a child through international adoption last month was planning a family holiday in a couple of months. All more navigated adoptive parents suggested it was too soon and I did too. I myself had waited for three years for my boy, years I had filled with expectations and spent dreaming of all the things we would do as a family. When he arrived, the last thing I wanted to do was wait more. I was impatient for our life together to start. As I found out, that was the recipe for disappointment.
Acceptance is a process. Nothing clicked in my head, but I am in a better place than a year ago. I have started to truly understand him, to know his triggers and his stressors, and accept them. I have learned that he’s so sensitive to excitement that I cannot play with him like I wish to. I have mourned for the loss of the spontaneity that I could afford with my girl instead.
Sometime what you need to offer to your children is not what you were ready to give. And if we, their parents, are not capable of loving our children for who they are, then who will?
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