- Expect your child to find relationships with birth family difficult and confusing at times. Confusion is a part of life and they will need to handle confusing situations of many kinds.
- Expect relationships to change and evolve.
Claire’s 10-year-old son, Adam, was adopted from a Russian orphanage when he was 19 months old. Her second son, Ethan, joined their family from foster care at age 7. In this 12-part series, Claire shares the “fast and furious learning” she and her family experienced when they adopted an older child.
There are few things more life- or soul-destroying than clinging to the feeling that you are a victim of your life experiences, and that the world owes you something for the pain it caused you. And there are even fewer things more life- or soul-destroying than not allowing yourself the space to really feel your loss, fear, and longing.
Carey Elliot* has a close relationship with her four adult children, a long and happy marriage, and a successful career. She also has two grandchildren: a two-year-old boy, and a six-year-old girl. The little girl was placed for adoption at birth.
When Carey's daughter Danika became pregnant at 25, she told her mom that she was considering an adoption plan for her baby. Though other members of the family found this idea hard to accept, Carey was supportive: the birth father was not involved, and Danika very much wanted her child to have siblings and a two-parent family.
Everyone in the adoption constellation has a story to tell from his or her particular point of view. We weave our sense of self into the story and reveal our personalities. The process of storytelling helps us, the storyteller, clearly see our own motivations and values. It also helps others understand adoption from the inside out.
The value of taking the time to write out our stories instead of simply talking about them is that writing allows us to slow down our thinking and ponder what we want to explore. T
A ritual, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a prescribed order of performing religious or other devotional service.” Rituals take place on occasions like Hanukkah, Easter, the Lunar New Year, birthdays, and Thanksgiving. They don’t have to be religious in nature; baking Christmas cookies with your mom and sister is as much a ritual as attending Mass. The simple daily things you do can be can be rituals, too.
Noah sits tall in his booster seat, and I catch a glimpse of his messy curls in the rearview mirror. My eyes are on the road ahead, so he can talk to me and tell me things, but not see my facial expression. It’s a safe place to test out hard questions.
Last week’s booster-seat confessional was an open discussion between my seven year old son and me. He began matter-of-factly. “So, you’re not my real mom....”
Knowing adoption, knowing love
Sometimes I feel like there’s nothing going on--with adoption, that is. Life is full with school, friends, soccer, baseball, work, field trips, family gatherings, and the endless parade of birthday parties. For us to just stop talking about adoption would be easy, but that would be a shame.
- Go on a date with your partner/friend.
- Can your kids go for a sleepover?
Growing up you see your parents' "mistakes" in raising you, and you swear never to be like them. Then you become a parent.
Suddenly you no longer see your parents as having made mistakes; rather, they were surviving in the forever challenging world of parenthood.