My journey into mommyhood was not your typical experience. There were No plus signs on a stick and no morning sickness, no midnight cravings, no ultrasound to see if it is a boy or girl....well you get the idea. Nonetheless, I am a mother of four amazing children whom my husband and I adopted through Domestic Adoption...this is the incredible story of us.
(Start from the beginning with first post.)
This quote has embodies my state of mind as an adoptive mother for years now. I've never found another that speaks the truth of my heart so wholly.
The tragedy for her is the loss of raising her child. The tragedy for the child is the morning the loss and longing for that biological connection. The tragedy for me is that I can't change their tragedy.
The privilege is mine. I was chosen to be all that she felt she could not give him. I have the privilege of showing him how to love, how to BE loved and to rise above the challenges that we have in OUR path. No, I can never take away either of their pain from their tragedy, but this child will go off into the world knowing he was cherished and we respected HIS beginning and we honored his truth.
You can't imagine the joy that I have felt this week as my very amazing adopted daughter graduates from 4th grade and is preparing for her next scholastic adventure in the fall. All week, I have watched her celebrate with all her besties, walk proudly up to the podium to meet her teacher and principal and receive her certificate of completing elementarry school, and I have felt her squeeze me so tight in gratitude for all that we've been through this year and, we did it...together. She, born from the body of another and me, one who was never quite sure that I would ever mother something so incredible. This journey continues to widen my eyes day after day with each affirmation that we were meant to be on this journey together. Had I NOT chosen Adoption, this joy would not exist. This pride would not exist. The intimacy between this mother and this daughter......would not exist. That reality is NEVER lost on me. I am so blessed because I CHOSE not be afraid of choosing adoption. This blog is all about my journey from infertility to choosing adoption. But, the best parts are what comes after. By way of adoption, we became US! Our Family.
As I navigate through my first adopted child becoming a teenager, I am constantly trying to find articles about teens and adoption from those who came before me. That said, no two kids are the same in this world of "Being Adopted". I stumbled on to this cool article from AdoptiveFamilies.com, Teens on Adoption: In their OWN words. I found it very comforting to read the thoughts from kids in their teens. My teenager isn't much of a talker, so when he does, I pay very close attention. Lately, I have been assuming that no talking must mean that something is wrong or he is in turmoil. When he was young, he asked a lot of questions about his adoption and birthparents until he hit 5th grade and then he became more private about it. He is happy too respond to his friends when they ask questions. But at 13, he stays pretty private about it., and pretty much everything else in his life, lol. I am respecting that. I guess he's just the typical teenager finding his way through the world of growing up. I guess my point is that, be sure to lay the ground work when they are small. Build their confidence in "Being Adopted". Be that rock for them. They are experiencing something that YOU can't explain to them. THEY are adopted, NOT YOU. Listen to them. Hold them. Respect them. It's not about YOU! Note to self.
Boy, that's the truth. As an adoptive mother of four, I have learned through my journey that, the hardships along the way towards your dream, not only are all part of what completes the journey, but what makes the journey worth it. Adopting children is a LONG journey. It's a never ending life lesson, full of blessings, rock bottoms and amazing surprises you can't fully grasp unless you DO it. You cannot anticipate what it will bring when dealing with their emotions about being adopted. Mine are 13, 12, 9 and my little guy is 7. We have experienced many phases now of kids feeling their way through being adopted. ...as well as our emotions as parents. There have been many a stormy path, but most of our storms end with a rainbow of growth, understanding and acceptance, by the Grace of God. People ask me if I think girls or boys are harder to navigate through the roller coaster of emotions. I tell them, I think it's more about the type of kid rather than the gender. The best advice I give to people who seek it, is that you must keep he lines of communication open with your child. Create an environment where there are no questions that can't be asked. It not simple, that's for sure.
My daughter is now 8 and a half. I have told her from day one, where she came from. Every time, she would shake her head at me and say, "no mommy, no". I kept at it, as always. Recently, the dam broke. Out poured every why? What? Who? And When? that had ever crossed her mind. Of course this was at 10:30 at night. Way past her bed time. But.....now, was the moment that an adoptive mom waits for. The moment that they let their guard down and accept in their heart just what you have told them time and time before. But today, she stopped rejecting the fact that SHE WAS ADOPTED. Today, she wanted all the answers.
I was prepared for such a moment, as I had been through it two other times with my two older boys. This time was different though. She is a girl and had dealt with the information differently than the boys had. Each experience has been a very unique experience. I will discuss more about the boys in future posts.
My daughter was mostly upset about an idea she had, that I, was somehow keeping her from visiting her (birthday mother). This would be a tough answer, as it was with my other children. You see, our birthday mom had asked us to encourage the kids to not look for her in the future. My hope had always been that she might change her mind, but, not so far. This is one of the hardest parts, because I want to keep things positive in her mind as long as I can. There is no good way to explain the "why" I can't see her to a child. She will know everything in time. As she grows older, the more negative facts will unfold. I hope I am giving you a window into just how difficult these emotions can be for both her and I. Baby steps. Keep with me, as this has a great ending.
So, after lots of tears and hugs and even anger, we decided on a plan. My hubby and I decided that the best thing for her would to get a special journal, so she could write all of her feelings, questions and thoughts in the book, as if she were writing letters to her birthday mom. She loved the idea. She writes every night. She looks through the journal and the life book we created for her and feel connected enough....for now. She hopes to someday give it to her. Me too.
Several days later, we were walking in to Target for a much needed "Target Trance", and she grabbed my hand and looked up at me with those baby greens and said, "I love you SO much my Forever Adoptive Mommie.