Saturday, April 18, 2015


I am a worrier. Always have been, and although learning better ways to handle adversity and uncertainty – I still worry.

I worry about my kids - a lot. I like to know where they are and what they are doing. That doesn’t mean I hovered like a helicopter. But, I certainly don’t bury my head like an ostrich, either. This was easier when they were young, much harder during their teen years. As adults (23 and 27 years of age) I still like a text every so often to know what they are up to. And, yes, while I would love them to do so hourly, I know that’s my issue, not theirs.

I live in New York City, and admit my anxiety got much worse after 9/11. My kids were 10 and 14 years old at the time. They were aware of the severity of what happened, as well as my anxiety.  They were given cell phones so we could communicate – just in case. Over the years, those cell phones have never left our sides. I hate them and love them.. I see their value, yet hate their intrusion. Knowing I can reach “my girls” or mom or sister or friend in need, is comforting and wins out. Knowing clients can reach me in an emergency is a good thing.

Sometimes I wonder if I worry so much because my kids are adopted. Does that add to my concern? Are there special things that I attribute to the adoption? I check my thoughts with friends and colleagues who have birth and adopted kids.,

The consensus is that 9 times out of 10, it’s a “growing up” thing that all kids experience. There are times, however, where there is an adoption twist, overlay, underlay or complexity.  There are personality traits that don’t match mine. There are food preferences that don’t match my choices. Those are the easy things to figure out and accommodate. Differences in thinking patterns or “flight or fight” responses are tougher.

Most parents want to always have the answers – to fix what is wrong. Adoption makes that harder. Over the years, parents have their share of concerns over academic struggles, medical symptoms and behaviors. A child’s questions about birth family or medical history can be explored but not always answered. Reassuring a child  while trying to obtain information that may be unknown or unavailable is tough on both the parent and the child.

Based on a child’s history, adoptive parents also worry about their child’s choices that may mimic birth parents, including an unplanned pregnancy, and subsequent decisions.

Then I remember, I worry about everyone and everything.  It’s in my nature. I like friends and family who travel to send a quick “I’ve arrived.” upon reaching their destination.  I like a “goodnight” text from my girls so I know they are in for the night.

I know I cannot control the world or even the little part of it within I live. I do know that adoption has been a wonderful and rewarding part of my life even with its remaining questions.

Life will always have me worrying about something.  It is who I am and what I do.

Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. She has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled adoptive parents and parents-to-be, and has trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001 and has a private practice in New York City. She has been Director of the Ametz Adoption Program of JCCA since 1992. You can follow her at or email her at