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No child, biologically related or adopted, comes with an instructions manual. There are times when being a parent will come naturally to someone, then there are the moments when the parental role is playing out to a tough crowd. Adoptive parenting, while no more difficult or easy than raising a biological child, certainly presents unique obstacles that other parents at the PTA meetings may not be able to give insight into.

Each parent has a different idea of what good parenting involves. Some family dynamics function best with a stay-at-home spouse and others cannot survive without two incomes to make ends meet. Finding a natural rhythm for a family may see plenty of trial and error scenarios as there is not "right" or "wrong" way to handle a situation because only time can really indicate the means of a decision. It may be helpful, though, to browse adoptive parent forums online for support and advice on adoption-specific guidance. For example, a child with a disability is going to share problems that children, adopted and not, will face.

Very basic and highly generalized advice given to adoptive families and those who regularly interact with adopted children includes using positive language to talk about adoption, especially when the child is old enough to ask sensitive questions about his or her birth parents and pre-adoptive past. Using terms like "international adoption" instead of "foreign adoption" are subtle, yet effectively different, ways to say the same thing. Parents may also want to be judicious about talking about adoption fees or other aspects of the adoption process that can be misunderstood and hurtful for a child due to the association "cost" has with a financial transaction. Being told their "adoption price" can affect a child's idea of self-worth.

Finding time to talk to the child about adoption and to open the door for questions is also important. No child wants to feel that a topic is taboo, especially if the adoptive parents are the only source of the information. Transracial adoption is another pressure for good parenting, especially if there are language barriers, as are any health needs that may develop in a child. Learning to embrace everything that comes with the role of parental guidance is difficult even without the adoption lens.

See Also: single parenting

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