This being our second adoption, and because we’ve adopted both domestically and now internationally, lots of people interested in adoption ask me questions about my experiences. Some conversations sometimes end like this:
Interested Person: well, if I ever adopt, it’ll be from somewhere where I don’t have to deal with birth parents.
There’s so much that swirls around in my head about that. And while it’s common for adoptive parents to feel this way, I want to challenge those of you considering adoption, in the process or thinking about how birthparents fit into your life, to think about these ideas:
No matter where you adopt from, or how you adopt, your child’s birthparents are always going to be with you.
If your child has completely round eyes and you don’t…. birthparents.
The fact that your child is with you, and yet didn’t come from you…. birthparents.
If your child is spirited and full of energy- and you’re chill and relaxed- birthparents.
When your child says, “why do my knees look like this?”- Birth parents.
When your child feels alone, like they don’t fit in, that there’s a giant hole in their personal or biological history? The absence of that knowledge can be eased by talking about personal history and birth family.
Birth parents. They matter, people. And so here’s the controversial statement:
Like it or not, you are your child’s first curator of their birth parents role in their life and how they came to you. How you approach their memory, or knowledge about them, or your relationship with them is going to form the foundation of your child’s link to their own personal history. Honor their birth parent’s memory. Honor the things you both know and don’t know about them. Be thankful for them, and cultivate compassion and/or gratitude for them in the ways most appropriate to your child’s history and placement with you.
Anyways, I feel strongly about birth parents not matter if they were birth parents by choice, or through some difficult circumstance they couldn’t overcome. I want adoptive parents not to fear them ,and everyone else to honor the memory of their children’s birth parents. I hope that we learn a lot of things about our new child’s past and birth family so that we can hang onto them until he is ready to do with that information what he wants. I love Lev’s birth family, and I love that he likes to point out JoJo on the fridge and that we can talk about the things that he has that remind us of her: His determination, his enterprising spirit, his talkativeness, his nose, his feet, his hair color, and his love of Ice and video games. I wouldn’t change that for anything.
I could go on and on about this one topic. But I won’t. Not this week anyway. I can only offer my thoughts on it, and hope that both people interested in adoption and adoptive parents come to feel the same way.
So that’s my word on Wednesday. Birth parents matter. Honor them and their memory.