Kids need parents, but sometimes they don’t get to be raised by their biological parents. The world needs other adults to step in and take care of children with nowhere else to go, whether it’s fostering for a while or adopting them forever.

Children in cases like these sometimes carry a lot of trauma through their young lives. This is unfortunate, and the difficulty is compounded in how often they take out this pain on those closest to them, the adults currently caring for them.

That makes it harder for you to do the world some good. Fortunately, there are many different ways in which you can go about dealing with rejection as an adoptive parent.

First of all, never take things personally. It’s easy to when you’re in your own home and you’ve poured everything you’ve got and then some into trying to help a child. You may love them with all your heart, but you need to think of yourself as more of a lifeguard than anything else. You’re there to keep them from drowning in their own misery, even if they’re fighting you tooth and nail.

Secondly, make sure you have help. Whether it’s your spouse, friends, relatives, or just others in the community, have people around who can be sources of encouragement and support to you. Whenever possible, have people who can take over for a while so you get a break. Even the best lifeguards have trouble standing up when the waves keep knocking them over.

Third, keep your own life. Whether you work outside your home or not, have something in your life that is all yours and doesn’t revolve around your kids. This is actually crucial advice for biological parents just as much as it is for those who foster or adopt. Never lose yourself in all of this.

Finally, manage your expectations. Adopting or fostering is a wonderful thing to do for the world and especially the children that you try and help. Then again, it might not be a home full of love and happiness like you hoped. Do the best you can, but be willing to temper your objectives and deal with the facts on the ground if they don’t align.