Lighthouse Thoughts

May 13, 2016

3 Kinds of Adoptive Parents

According to many professionals who work with adoptive families, there are three types of Adoptive Parents. They are the Blind, the Blaming, and the Balanced Adoptive Parents. Family dynamics are unique and even within a single family unit one parent may have a different parenting style than another. Immediate versus extended family members may also be in conflict. Alternately, a family may find that they have a number of qualities from different classifications and they may have to make a conscience decision to improve on weaker areas. Ultimately a family’s goal is to be well balanced.

The Blind Adoptive Parents
The Blind are blind to the core issues of adoption, they don’t understand how all members of the adoption triad are impacted by adoption, and are unable to recognize them when they are present. They never consider that some problems that they experience may be related to adoption. They insist there are no differences between adoptive and biological children even if they are unable to make a reasonable comparison. (Note: not less than, but different) They frequently point out familial similarities in an effort to promote inclusion. Blind adoptive families may avoid discussion about adoption or birth parents or become angry if the child brings up the topic. This may isolate the child, who may feel that he / she has no emotional outlook and is unable to discuss grief & loss, race, culture, heritage, or birth family.

The Blaming Adoptive Parents
Unlike the Blind Adoptive Family who is unable to recognize how adoption may impact their family, the Blaming Family frequently exaggerates the importance of the adoptive status of their child, especially when problems arise. Their exceptions versus realities are in conflict and they may have paid little attention to the importance of pre-adoption education. They may believe that their child’s problems are caused by their birthparents. They may belittle natural talents or interest, if they are in conflict with their own. The blaming parent takes credit for the child meeting their expectations but blames others or adoption for their shortcomings. Children with blaming adoptive parents are intimidated and are not comfortable discussing adoption. They may have attachment or behavioral issues, be insecure, or blame themselves for being placed for adoption.

The Balanced Adoptive Parents
Well balanced adoptive parents acknowledge the differences that adoption brings and can openly discuss issues inherent in adoption within their family unit and with others. Well balanced parents do not blame their child’s, or family struggles on adoption. Nor do they wear blinders where adoption is concerned. They value all members of the adoption triad and facilitate age appropriate discussions and sharing of information with their children. Well balanced adoptive parents are supportive of the child’s interest and talents. They acknowledge and support child’s racial or cultural identity. Well balanced parents follow the child’s lead in discussing tough issues and openly discuss adoption and birthparent roles. They recognize that they can openly explore these roles without risk of jeopardizing the bond between family members. Children with balanced adoptive parents often develop a strong sense of self and are able to initiate discussions about adoption. There understanding of adoption includes that a birth parents decision to place was not about them. They are able to acknowledge and accept that while adoption involves grief and loss that there are many positive attributes.

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