Adoption isn’t scary…well, maybe a little


This week may be the only time of year when it’s acceptable to scare people; it may even be encouraged. Child-sized ghosts, goblins and witches will likely roam your streets this coming Friday in attempt—albeit imaginary—to instill fear in their neighbors in exchange for a sweet treat.


So, in the spirit of this “fear-filled” holiday, let’s embrace the emotion when it comes to adoption. Because, if you’re considering adopting a child from foster care, you’re probably already a little nervous…and rightfully so! Navigating the child welfare system, birth parents and the sometimes challenging behaviors of adopted children can be overwhelming. Here are some common adoption-related fears:


You may be scared of your home-study appointment. One prospective mother posted this on an online adoption forum:


“I have spent countless hours scrubbing down the house, setting up ournursery, and prepping our dogs for the children we hope to someday help. But no matter how many books I read, articles I highlight or calls to our agency, I can’t get the stress to stop. What if I forgot something from the inspection checklist? What if our dogs are too hyper for our inspector? What if the apartment is too small?” 


Or, you may have fears about how to tell your friends and family, such this adoptive mother:


“I can’t seem to imagine calling my mom on the phone and telling her ‘Hey mom, how’s the weather?  Really, that’s great.  By the way, we just started the process to become adoptive parents.  And we’re adopting an older child, not a baby.  So, how’s work?’” 


Our—and this may be the toughest fear to admit—you may even be scared of your own feelings toward your adoptive child. But, you wouldn’t be the first, as expressed by this prospective parent:

“My biggest concern is…looking at my child and thinking “That’s not really my child.” I’m scared I’m going to compare my adoptive child to biological nieces and nephews and think that he/she is really not part of the family. I am scared of watching my child do something and thinking “He/she gets that from me…but not really because he/she isn’t mine.”


Regardless of what you’re afraid about adopting, know that your feelings and emotions are normal. Countless of other prospective adoptive parents before you have had the same concerns. After all, you’re bringing a new person into your family—someone with their own feelings, beliefs and personality. It’s a scary thing! But, it’s also a pretty awesome and beautiful thing at the same time.


The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.




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