Adoptive Parents: Feelings of Guilt

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Adoption is a very emotional time for everybody involved. Whether on the biological side or on the adoptive side, there are times of joy and there are times of pain.

A lot of people tend to think about the adoptive side being engulfed with nothing but joy. After all, adoptive parents are receiving the greatest gift one person can give to another, right? What people don’t understand is that there can be a lot of inner struggles tied to that gift. It’s not uncommon for adoptive parents to feel a lot of pain associated adoption, especially if that adoption is an open adoption.

No emotions associated with adoption are universal. Perhaps that’s one of the most difficult things about trying to know what to expect and what to plan for emotionally. Every situation is different and every person is different. Although, just like all other emotions, it’s not always the case, a feeling of guilt is very common- especially with open adoption.

It is instilled in us as human beings to be extra sensitive to the feelings associated with parenthood. While it’s a beautiful thing to place a child for adoption, that separation is also a painful one for birth parents. Adoptive parents feel pain too. True, they feel it differently than do the biological parents, but they do feel pain.

It’s not easy to be on the receiving end of what is paining someone else. When the gift is so wonderful, the guilt for receiving it is also greater. When the gift is so wonderful, the pain is that much greater for the giver. And when the pain is that much greater for the giver, the guilt is that much more intense for the receiver.

It’s impossible to compare the pain that the adoptive couple feels when compared to the biological parents. It’s not the same type of pain, nor is it at the same level, but it is important to note that it is there.

Imagine the most beautiful home. Imagine beautiful furnishing and a perfect location. Imagine someone offering to give you that home, but in order for you to take it they have to move out and go somewhere else. Even imagine watching seeing their tears as they pack up their belongings to vacate. It would be difficult to watch. And yet, a home is still just a building.

Placing a child for adoption isn’t very common anymore. The rate of unwed parents choosing adoption used to be around 9%, but that number hasn’t been above 1% in about 20 years. The sacrifice birth parents make is difficult, and adoptive parents feel that. The gift of adoption is the most beautiful gift that can be given when circumstances aren’t right for biological parents to raise the child. It’s the most beautiful gift not only for the adoptive couple, but perhaps even more so for the child itself. With that incredible gift comes incredible sacrifice and both sides need to heal in their own way.

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