The Best and Worst Advice for Adoptive Parents

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Beza’s grandmother placing Beza’s hands in mine.


Last August, my friend, Pam Parish, asked me a simple question for a post she was writing, “What are the two best, and two worst pieces of advice you’ve received as an adoptive parent?”

I didn’t let myself overthink and replied with my first thoughts.

Two of the best pieces of advice we received:

1. Simplify your lives as much as possible.

Live as if you’re adding a newborn to your family, even if your new child is ten years old. Say “no” to all extraneous commitments, and “yes” to all help offered.

2. It’s okay if you don’t feel love immediately.

Attachment takes time and shared experience. Be gentle with yourself and find someone you trust who will listen and not judge, who will speak truth into your life, and will encourage you when the days are long.

Two of the worst pieces of advice we received:

1. Parent your new child the same way you parented your other kids.

Adoption always involves loss and grief, even for a newborn who already knows the sound of her mother’s voice. Most of our children came to our family with severe neglect and trauma which did not heal the moment they entered our loving home. The parenting techniques we used with the children born to us not only did not work, but could have been harmful. It’s essential to be flexible as we parent children from “hard places.”

2. Your other children are strong enough to handle it.

One of our greatest regrets is that we didn’t protect our other children enough and give them voice. We were so focused on the needs of our new children that we lost sight of what was needed by everyone else. The life they had was gone, and they had little access to us as we immersed ourselves in helping our new children. They suffered, grieved, and were hurt, but in the early months we could hardly see it. Thankfully, we finally realized the toll this was taking on the kids, and made changes that brought healing.

What are the two best and worst pieces of advice you received? I would truly love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.

You can read the entire post on Pam’s blog.

This is a good moment to mention that I am gathering responses for my book on giving voice to siblings and would love for you and your children to join me.

You can give voice to your children by encouraging them to participate in my project. Not only will this help other families preparing to add new children to the family, but it will help siblings who are struggling with the adjustment.

I’m compiling responses to share when I speak and I plan to publish them in a book. I want to hear from a broad range of ages and experiences. Your children may be glad to have the opportunity to share their thoughts and, like me, you may find it enlightening. I cried over many of my kids’ words, and I’m so thankful that they trusted them with me.

Please note, this question is not intended only for children born into the family. It is also for adopted children whose families later added children from “hard places” through adoption and foster care.

I plan to use first names in the book, but will also use pseudonyms or “anonymous” if respondents prefer.

Please take a  moment to hop over to the original post and grab the questions for your kids. I encourage adults to participate as well.

Have a fabulous Monday, friends.

encourage one another,



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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

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