How to Co-Parent an Adopted Child After Divorce

Divorce is a difficult process for everyone involved for a variety of reasons. You and your former spouse have made a life changing decision, one that is best in the long run, but for the time being it’s a difficult and often tumultuous period.

This difficulty is compounded when you factor an adopted child into the equation. Divorce often brings out lingering attachment issues for adopted children, and reminds them of the loss that they have already faced. While you and your former spouse know that you will both continue to be there for your child, he or she may not be so sure. Here are some important tips for how to co-parent your child during this trying time.

  • Present a United Front: Comfort from both parents will go a long way to helping your child. If you and your former spouse have the ability to speak to your child together about the situation, you should do so. It will show the child that you are both still working together to be her parents, and you can reassure him or her that both of you will still be very much involved in their life. Additionally, be sure to keep up this attitude when it is just you. Though you personally may be hurting, you need to make sure you avoid slandering the other parent or undermining their decisions. It is incredibly important for your child to have support and love from both parents, and know that you both can still cooperate peacefully.
  • Focus on Your Child First: This seems obvious, but during this time it’s very easy to start focusing on the personal issues going on. Your life is also turned upside down by this decision. There is also a larger likelihood of guilt with adoptive parents, as you may hold yourself to a higher standard, or feel that you haven’t held up your end of the bargain with a loving home. You need to push these thoughts away, and tell yourself that the best way to get through this is by focusing on your child first, and giving them stability.
  • Maintain Normalcy: You want to make your child happy, if only for a moment, so you may tend to be more lenient on rules and everyday routines. This can actually be detrimental to your child. Maintain your normal lifestyle and responsibilities as much as is possible during this time.
  • Seek Professional Help: While this is not limited to adopted children, it certainly presents an added component. Children have a tendency to blame themselves or act out after their parents announce their divorce. By factoring in adoption, their latent feelings of abandonment or loss of control can act as a catalyst. It’s important to understand that it is normal for them to act out, and that they may need someone to talk to. Don’t be afraid to take them to a therapist, so they can work out their problems in a safe space.

Adoption and divorce are both complicated, and putting them together creates a very messy situation. Make sure to do research on your specific situation and repeat the mantra: my child first.

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