There can be vast differences between adoptive parents and adoptees. Adopted children may differ in looks – skin, eye and hair color, have unique features, personalities and temperaments and built. They may come from a different country and have different sexual preferences when they grow up. They may have special health or mental problems or genetic diseases than their parents. In such cases, adoptive parents may feel that they are not the ideal role models for their children and that they may not give them all the skills that they need to lead their individual lives.
The challenges that adoptive parents have faced in the past include white parents parenting African American, Asian, black or brown children and feeling inadequate to help them live in a white world as a self-confident adult. A normal parent looking after a handicapped adoptee or an adoptee with special needs such as those who are blind or deaf may feel inadequate to learn them to live in a world without using one of their under-developed or undeveloped senses or their special handicaps. There can be people who excel in academics wondering how to handle an adoptee with learning disabilities. Then there is the big question on how to make the child live confidently in a world as ‘adopted’ one and deal with the loss of birth families.
Despite all these differences, we need to nurture our children and give them all that we can. Adoptees can be as complete as others if we teach them with a right attitude. Join communities, groups, support services and make friends with people of all types including the adults and children who are like our children. Share experiences and issues and let the children interact with people who are like them. Your list of friends may include people of certain ethnicity or skin color, those who have same limitations such as your children such as deafness and learning disability and those who are adopted, so that your child can feel ‘one’ of the world.
Your child needs to realize that the world consists of different people with their unique characteristics and traits and that they all have to deal with the situation. They might find a role model for themselves among your friends and can discuss issues you are unable to help them with, with their newfound supporters. Parents must assure and re-assure children that they are precious to them, in spite of all the differences that they may have. Cultural, physical or developmental differences are just facts of life that both adoptive parents and adoptees must learn to embrace rather than lament and they must learn to live life with a positive attitude.