Our country is reeling as we try to contain a global pandemic and reckon with police brutality and racial justice. It can feel like a never-ending deluge of chaos, fear and uncertainty. And then there’s the pressure of it all.
You might be feeling it, too. The pressure to contribute to social justice and support the Black community, the pressure to stay healthy and prevent COVID-19 transmission, the pressure to re-prioritize and care for your child through this new “normal.” These circumstances have brought a couple of parental realities into sharp focus for me:
- We cannot be all things to our children. There was a moment at the beginning of this period where I juggled the roles of stay-at-home dad, homeschool teacher, gymnastics coach, graduate student, husband and director of post-adoption services at Holt. No matter how hard I tried, I struggled to find the time, energy and words to describe to my 8-year-old what was happening, much less process it all with her.
- All this uncertainty can dredge up a lot of emotions for adoptees, some of which are easily identified, and others more subtle. Both types adversely affect our ability to be present and engaged with the moment.
As current events unfold, adoptive families are faced with an emotional double whammy. Not only are we dealing with the stresses of uncertainty and the pains of racial injustice, we’re forced to regulate the emotional responses adoptees experience when faced with significant life events. For me, it’s been a “learn as I go” kind of challenge, and just when I think things are beginning to stabilize, a new development causes the floor to fall out from beneath me.
Like me, dozens of adoptees and adoptive families have recently expressed that the constant pull to be both socially distanced and socially engaged has worn them thin. If you’re struggling with how to reconcile and balance current events with adoption, the phone calls and emails we’ve been receiving prove that you’re not alone. Holt’s post-adoption programs and staff are here to help provide perspective on how adoption impacts our experience of an already complicated environment. If you feel like the emotional floor is shaking beneath you, I invite you to reach out and explore our programs and services. Together, perhaps we can help you find steady footing.