“Are my birth parents dead?” This question came from one of my children this past week. I paused for just a bit, and then said, “Your birth mother is alive, but your birth father died.”
Silence….then no other questions for several days until tonight.
In the car, I hear the question, “Are my birth parents really dead?” “Your birth father died”, I replied. “Was he there when I was born?” “No. He died before you were born.”
Silence…”Well, how did you know?” I told my child that a social worker informed me about it.
“So, I was alone when I was born?” “No honey. No…you were not alone. Your birth mother was there.”
“Oh…you know…I think my birth father’s favorite color was grey. He told me when I was with him.”
I looked in the rear view mirror of my car and saw my child yearning to keep the tears in. I said, “It is okay to be sad about it, and cry.”
“I think I miss him. I’m sad because my birth father died.”
Here is the often misunderstood thing about adoption – it is not always full of joy. Is it a joyful time when adoption finally comes knocking on one’s door? Yes, of course, but the real stuff, the nitty-gritty pieces of life of an adoptive family, can be very hard.
Loss is a huge part of adoption. Adoptive parents hold the stories of their children’s lives, and piece by piece, moment by moment, and question by question, the stories are told.
Honestly, I struggle with the truth about my children’s histories. I so wish I could say all of their stories and journeys to our lives were filled with wonderful and incredible things, but that would not be the truth.
So, piece by piece, moment by moment, and question by question, I narrate their little lives honestly and truthfully. The truth is painful, sometimes. My heart just feels wounded by the things that led their lives to mine.
Adoption is hard,
and simply incredible.
If you are an adoptive parent, know this, adoption is not always going to feel good. You will go through valleys of unknowns…scary and sad places.
If you are an adoptive parent, know this, adoption has a way of softening your heart, and tendering it to the realization that you are the story-teller, narrator, and keeper of the sorrowful and wonderful details of your child’s life.
After all, adoption is hard,
and simply incredible.