When the “Perfect Family” Isn’t “Perfect” Anymore

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image c/o www.telegraph.co/uk

About fifty percent of marriages end in divorce.

A divorce can be extremely difficult and emotional for the couple splitting up and for their children, if they have any. And when the couple’s children were adopted, there is someone else who may be upset about the divorce: the birth parent.

Because divorces consume a lot of emotional and physical energy, adoptive families often communicate less frequently with their child’s birth parents during the divorce. There’s also another reason why they may shy away from you during this time: they’re worried. If you chose them so that their child could have a two-parent family, there is a good chance they are worried about upsetting you with the news that they won’t be that two-parent family in the same way.

And you might be upset with them! When you were choosing an adoptive family for your child, you picked the book that labeled this couple as a couple; you didn’t choose two separate albums for two separate families. You may have envisioned your child growing up in a picture-perfect family that you couldn’t provide. It’s normal and okay to feel upset when you think back to the role these things played in your adoption decision.

If you are in a relationship at the time of your child’s parents’ divorce, you may also feel some guilt about not parenting or start second-guessing yourself about whether you should have parented and provided that two-parent home. These are normal reactions, but try not to be too hard on yourself. There is much more to every family than whether both parents live together, and you didn’t make your adoption decision based solely on relationship status.

While you’re thinking about the reasons why you made that difficult decision to place your child for adoption, take a moment, if you can, to put yourself in the shoes of your child’s adoptive parents – because now they are the ones making a heart-wrenching decision that they believe is for the best. Don’t give up on them because of a divorce. Take a little space if you need to, and definitely give them time to sort themselves out, but don’t let yourself get bogged down in feeling sad or angry about the change in their family structure. The truth is that no family is picture-perfect. That doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision or that your child won’t lead the life you want for them. It simply means what you already knew: that life is difficult, people are flawed, and that sometimes doing what’s right for you and your child means making a very tough — but ultimately good — decision.

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