“Well, your mom didn’t even want you so that’s why you had to get adopted!” I heard this coming from one of my kid’s bedroom. The next sound heard was that of my crying child. I ran to comfort my child. My husband following to hug our child, while I stood in the bedroom of the child to which those words were spoken. “Why? Why would you say that? That isn’t the truth – about you or any your siblings. We’ve never said that. All of you are adopted and loved and very much wanted. Don’t say that because the world is going to tell you that and it’s not true,” I said, while looking into my child’s eyes. My child looked right back into my eyes and said, “The world has already told me this.”
Taken back, stricken with a twinge of heart-pain, I reassured my children the truth that they are very much wanted and loved by all members of families – biological and non-biological.
Yesterday was World Adoption Day and this memory of a recent conversation just kept playing over in my mind. I chose to take a pic of my empty hand – no words or symbols. Nothing.
Because sometimes adoption seems so full of nothingness and overwhelmed by everything at the same time.
Because adoption is filled with immeasurable despair and longing; yet also carries a sustainable hope.
Because all of us (adoptive parents) can’t let it be about us – our wants and our needs.
Because every single day, we have to get up with a blank slate – one that we don’t pour our own expectations all over; one that we let our kids write their feelings on.
World Adoption Day is about bringing support and awareness for adoption by encouraging people to snap a pic of their hands with smiley faces on them. I certainly hope my lack of a smiley face or words on my hand suggests that I don’t support it. I do. I always will. There are plenty of smiling, joyful moments in adoption.
But sometimes, we have to be the blank slate – one that never turns away from our children’s feelings; one that gets rid of what we thought parenting would be like.
One that fully recognizes we have so much to learn.