Here is another insight I’ve discovered since becoming a parent through adoption:
Adoption is extremely complex, but there is beauty in complexity.
The closer we got to our first adoption, I was so eager to “get it over with”. I just wanted the judge’s gavel to fall and for our son to be declared ours. I did not want anyone else to be in control of my son anymore. I looked at that day with fantastic expectation and with the thought that it will all be so much easier after adoption than when we were fostering him.
Our daughter was placed with us a few months later and I was also looking forward to the day that we could adopt her. Right after our daughter’s adoption, we closed our foster care license. What I have realized through the years since then is that adoption continues to evolve as our children grow older. The gavel may have fallen, and the “cases” may be closed, but our journey really has just begun.
We see the look of confusion at times when the children are talking about birth parents and why they do not have the same birth moms. We watch our son stare at his baby pictures and ask a million questions about the baby that he was. We overhear the kids talking in the back of the car or in their rooms about birth parents. I even heard my daughter say that she wished I was her birth mommy.
My husband and I have late-night talks on the couch after the kids go to bed about how we should address specific issues and questions as they arise. Our son usually has a rough couple of days after visiting our daughter’s sibling, who is also adopted, because he doesn’t quite understand how his sister could have a sister of her own.
I often watch the kids and wonder how much of their lives will be affected because of adoption. Don’t misunderstand me. There are incredible opportunities, safety, love, and stability that they have because of adoption, but, it would be amiss of me to assume that it is always going to be easy for them.
I worry at times that we are being too open in discussing it, or maybe not open enough. I used to weep for my children because of the losses they have endured without even knowing it. I have wished to be able to wipe the slate clean for them. All of these things are issues that my child-bearing friends do not have to take into consideration when parenting.
The complexity of it all makes me appreciate the opportunity to talk with other adoptive families about their experiences, and to learn from each other. I love the diversity of each family and the journeys that many have been on. I also have come to realize that adoptive families are unique and special in so many ways. Yes, there may be worrying, wondering, weeping, and wishing, but in these things there is great beauty.