If you and your spouse built your family by adopting a child, divorce can bring added layers of guilt and worry about how your child is going to cope. If your child’s life before adoption involved multiple foster homes or other upheavals, you may fear that changing their family dynamics will be particularly triggering.
Some adoptive parents who divorce also feel like they’re letting down the birth mother, if they know her, or even the agency or organization that helped them adopt by not “living up” to the promise of a stable, loving family they presented.
Certainly, none of these concerns should keep you in an unhappy marriage. That’s not healthy for anyone – certainly not for your child.
Co-parenting an adoptive child isn’t significantly different than a biological one
All divorcing parents need to take the time and effort to provide reassurance to their children that the divorce has nothing to do with them, to shield them from the negative feelings they have about each other and to provide as much consistency and stability between homes as possible. Those things are even more crucial for an adopted child – particularly one who remembers their life before adoption.
If your child has a relationship with their birth mother or a biological grandparent, it’s best for both of you to allow them to maintain that relationship. Depending on how close the relationship is, you may even want to include them in your parenting plan. If you have a child who’s biologically related to one of you and was adopted by the other, some of these same issues may be applicable. Your child may fear that their adoptive parent will no longer be part of their lives.
Every adoption situation is different, and no two adopted children are alike. It’s essential to have a custody agreement and parenting plan that takes into consideration the unique needs of your child.