The Most Common Characteristics Shared by Successful Adoptive Parents, pg 4

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4. They Eliminate the "What If" Syndrome From Their Lives:

A wise philosopher once said:

"Worry can never conquer the problems we fear from tomorrow; it can only rob us of the vitality and pleasures of today."
- Anonymous

There is probably no more appropriate place for this advice to be applied than to parents that are searching for that "right" adoption opportunity. I guess I feel this way because I recognize that this can be a very difficult and challenging experience for adoptive couples. In a high percentage of cases, their tender emotions and self-esteem have already been severely wounded as they have tried to understand their infertility issues. On top of that, the infertility treatment process may also have taken a heavy toll on them, both physically and financially, with no results and no end in sight.

As these emotionally fragile couples step from the infertility arena into the adoption arena, many of them are already suffering from serious emotional, physical and financial wounds. In this weakened condition, even the very predictable rejections and uncertainties that are a very normal and natural part of the adoption process can appear to be towering and impassable mountains, when in reality, they are nothing more than proverbial molehills. Unfortunately, the consequences of having an enhanced sensitivity on these critical issues can sometimes taint the joy and excitement that couples should be able to experience in their journey through the adoption process.

At least theoretically, it is "possible" that thousands of things could go wrong with every adoption. Could they happen? Yes. Do they happen? NO! Yet, if the mere "possibility" of something going wrong is what captures the attention and emotional energies of an adoptive couple, then their journey through the adoption process will be every bit as uncomfortable as sitting through a cheap horror film.

In reality, there are far more successful adoptions than there are adoptions that fail. There are adoption miracles that happen every day. There are a lot of reasons for optimism and a lot of reasons for celebration, but an adoption miracle will have a difficult time happening in an emotional environment that is polluted by pessimism, distrust or despair.

One of the saddest things I see happen to wonderful adoptive couples is usually kicked into motion when they "hear about" an adoption somewhere that fell through because a birth mother changed her mind at the last minute. Do these things happen? Probably. Do they happen often? NO! When one does happen, does it mean that the very same thing will ever happen to them? NO! Yet shaken by the thought that this "could" happen, some adoptive couples go into a defensive mode and let their "fear" of the unknown taint their ability to have an open and trusting relationship with a birthmother.

When adoptive couples allow this to happen to them, what they fail to realize is that the particular birthmother that they are now dealing with has done absolutely nothing wrong, was never part of a failed adoption, and certainly isn’t deserving of the air of distrust that the adoptive couple now carries in their demeanor, in their voice, and right on their sleeve, where birthmothers can clearly observe it, as though it were a blinking red warning sign that says: "Birthmothers BEWARE and run for cover!" When this happens, the hopes of this adoptive couple ever finding an adoption opportunity, regardless of how otherwise deserving and desirous they may be, may have been derailed entirely, or at least until they are able to recognize and remedy this significant problem.

I recommend that adoptive couples eliminate from their conversation and from their thought processes, any question that begins with the words "What If?" These questions accomplish nothing, other than destroying very justified optimism and hope, fueling distrust and paranoia, and driving away birthparents. Or spoken in a better way, "These feelings can never conquer the problems you fear from tomorrow. They will only rob you of the vitality and pleasures of today."

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