Tuesday, November 22, 2011
"Emotionally, who are we all?"
Today was a day I questioned my parenting on how to handle a situation with one of our children. I'm not going to get into detail for privacy reasons. Although after the situation I starting thinking about the time when my husband and I was so excited to meet our new child. It was an older adoption but we were excited because our waiting was finally over. We had a years wait after the match. It took months of pre-placement visits before placement. It took several months for an exception from the band. For us, adopting older children was just as exciting as having a baby. Looking at their pictures, the color of their eyes, how BIG their feet were, we were just so thrilled to have new children. At the beginning of our adoption journey we had this hope that if we provided a good stable loving home, we could have these wonderful changed children. Attachment Disorders? "They would attach" is what I thought. From the moment we met our new children, it was rough. Their behaviors were different but they were beautiful anyway. Something about adoption is, when you know they're your children, you look beyond their faults. There is this glimmer of hope for bigger and better future possibilities. All we want is what's best. Birth or adopted children, they're all the same. It's not always an adoptive child that disappoints. The difference is an adopted child wants at some point to know their birth family. Good, bad or indifferent it will happen eventually if openness isn't already established. With some of our children I always thought they would never know their birth family because of the reported history of neglect and addictions. It was my job as their Mother to protect them from their past and possible future influences. Strangely enough I smile writing this because there comes a time in life where we can't protect our children from anything. Ultimately my role as their protective Mother switches to letting them learn, experience for themselves. I've been learning something too.......we've had two teenagers seek out their birth family on different occasions. While they've done this, they aren't so nice anymore. As some are aware our oldest son is now home after two years of "soul searching" who he is. It wasn't pleasant. What I've learned is some of the birth family that I thought I'd never communicate with, I have and regardless of the past or what could still remain in the future - we all have the same thing in common. Our children. They counted their toes too. Our circumstances are different. I've learned that adoptive parents aren't valued as "real parents" with most birth families because of their losses. I've found that there's still confusion that their children are still in foster care. I'm finding with proper healthy communication with some birth family that these grey areas are finally being understood. I, the adoptive Mother didn't steal your child. I'm not a horrible person manipulating your child's feelings towards you. I'm simply a Mother loving those little toes you once counted. A mother that when laid eyes on your child, that waited more then nine months, made enormous sacrifices and unconditionally welcomed your child from age nine, age eleven and on..... only had one thought - was to love but not perfectly. Some of the clashes we've experienced with birth family is understandable, meaning I completely understand the feelings around their loss due to the circumstances. I've been thinking - (because I do that) I wouldn't change anything. In fact, I'm grateful for connecting with some of our children's birth family, (birth family I thought we wouldn't) because there is some we have different forms of openness with. I'm also at peace (in my heart) with our two teens that have been actively searching and connecting with their family. I truly believe that my decision to parent acknowledging our children's needs to face their unknowns with their birth family is the right choice. It's taken me seven years of being afraid to feeling comfortable knowing that whatever the outcome may be, it had to be done. Eventually however our children choose to venture, if it's done respectfully or completely with a 360 of behaviors and lies, emotionally we all need to find ourselves in this world and where we came from. Our children with attachment disorders are at risk but I will never allow myself to loose hope that we're the ones they've finally attached too. The same hope we had during our placements; to make a difference and to simply love a child.