ADOPTION IS… A STORY
I remember thinking about adoption before I adopted. In my mind, it would be this wonderful, perfect love story. The main characters were a baby and my husband and me.
How WRONG I was!
Not about the love story but about the perfection and who the main characters actually were.
Adoption is a love story filled with VERY high emotions that are often deeply conflicting.
The main characters are not just the baby and adoptive parents. The main characters are the child, the birth family, the adoptive family, and in many cases …the social workers, the lawyers, the agencies, and/or the foster family.
After interviewing over 100 people in the adoption world I learned that every adoption story has the good and the hard. It has some form of loss, some form of joy and lots of unanswered questions.
Adoption can make a life and break a life. It’s a delicate storyline of pain and grief mixed with happiness and awe.
I had a dream the other night.
In the dream, a woman had a 9-month-old baby and she was handing him to me at an agency. I was going to foster him until he was matched with a forever family. The baby was clinging to her as she handed him over to me.
He was sobbing.
This 9-month-old baby boy wanted his mother. He clearly knew her and loved her with all his little heart.
I asked her if she could keep her baby. and I would help her raise him. She explained she had no money and wanted a better life for him. Then she signed paperwork and walked out the door.
I tried to comfort the inconsolable baby even though I knew I could never take away his loss.
He was scared and confused. And he was left with a stranger.
I also knew that I would love him and that his adoptive family would provide for him. That wasn’t a question.
The question I had was how was this baby going to process the grief?
I was overwhelmed with a helpless feeling. I looked at his sweet little face and it looked exactly like his birth mother’s face.
Then I woke up.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the dream and about that little boy.
In my heart, I really felt that the child belonged with his birth mother. All children belong with their mothers and fathers.
But I also believe that in our imperfect world that is not always possible.
Adoption was created to fill in that gap. It gives a child a home and opportunity that would not be possible without it.
I believe every child needs a family and I’ve seen first-hand that mothers and fathers cannot always provide for their children, so the need for adoption is there.
But, I also believe that adoption does not always fill the empty holes for a child. No matter how great the “new” family is, often there is still resounding sadness experienced by the adoptee and birth parent.
As an adoptive mother, this was a hard realization.
I want to meet EVERY NEED of my four kids, as we all do as mothers. More than that….I want to be their biological mother, but I am not.
I realized if I acknowledge that, it doesn’t minimize my role. Instead, it empowers me to be open and listen to what they need.
I am a mother to them, and I am a part of their story.
The dynamics of our family may look different than what I thought because we have open agreements with our birth families. They each have their own stories but WE are their family.
At the end of the day, I am so happy that I chose adoption and that our stories came together. And as for the dream, I think it was a great reminder that adoption comes from brokenness that we cannot stop.
As parents we are called to recognize each child’s story and guide them into their truth, embracing the messy and the many blessings as they search for their identity and acceptance. Together we are writing our own story day by day.