Talking about grief and loss is a difficult conversation for adoptive parents to have with each other and with children. For my family, adoption is neither a win-win-win nor a lose-lose-lose situation, but rather it is both. Together the losses inherent in the adoption process and the deep love we share bind our family together. After eight years and lots of difficult work acknowledging my own losses, I am more able to embrace the role that both loss and love play in our family.
In one hand, I hold the profound loss and grief my children feel and express to me over losing their first family through adoption. In my other hand, I hold the love that binds us as a family and my ability as a parent, through love, acceptance, and understanding, to ease and maybe even heal some of their pain and loss.
Normally, we are like any other family going about the daily rituals of hectic family life. Occasionally, however, I have the opportunity to share my children’s loss issues.
Last week during our story time, my daughter, who is six, said, “You will never know what it feels like to be adopted because it didn’t happen to you.” My acceptance of her loss issues gives me strength at times like these to say, “You know you are right. I will never know what it feels like to be adopted because it never happened to me. Tell me more about what it feels like for you.” While I lay quietly, holding her tight, she shared some interesting feelings and thoughts with me. She shares her profound feelings with me, and I listen and accept these hard grief and loss truths from her. This is one of the ways we share our love and loss with each other.