- Therapy Yes, for you. I don’t care how wonderful your life has been, how many trophies you dust every weekend. Get yourself some therapy. Go talk about yourself a couple of times a month for a year or so. Not only will your children thank you, you will learn things about your own brain that will astound you. You will be a better parent.
- Expect Disappointment A child free of your genetic mistakes will have their own. They are not blank slates awaiting your fine hand. Every child comes with their own genetic history, their own likes and dislikes, their own weaknesses. You will need more than the usual amount of patience to successfully navigate this minefield of the unknown.
- Adopt an Infant I’m not kidding when I say, the younger the better. The older the child is, the more trauma they have endured. Trauma leaves its mark on the psyche and can take years to manifest. If you adopt a child older than one year old, you will deal with trauma scars. If you adopt a baby born addicted to drugs, you will deal with trauma scars. Take my word, stack the deck as much in your favor as you can. Adopt the youngest, healthiest child you can find.
Who the hell do I think I am?
I am that child you want to adopt. I’m one of the easy ones. A teenage mother, a father headed off to Vietnam. I’m two days old, a little banged up from a forceps birth but all in working order. That’s what you want, right? A tidy private adoption, your names as my parents on my birth certificate, no strings. No ugly surprises in six months, twelves months, ten years.
My parents wanted that too. They engineered that for all eight of their adopted children. We grew up together in two phases, four of us in the seventies, and four of us in the eighties.
My adoptive parents are both deceased now. I give you the advice I would have liked to give them. Advice they would have smiled through, nodded thoughtfully, bless your heart, and completely ignored. She was the eldest of thirteen, what more could she possibly learn? He was the youngest of three, children were for her to worry about, he was the breadwinner.
But I hope someone hears me.
Give your children a fighting chance.
Give your children the best version of yourself.