This morning I was reflecting back over the span of the last ten years of our adoption journey. At the beginning or our journey we thought, "What a wonderful path we've chosen" However our path raised concerns and questions from our friends and family. We quickly realized we weren't receiving the positive and "congratulation" comments that we initially thought we'd receive. From there adoption wasn't so positive anymore. We stopped telling people that we were in the adoption process. Eventually our life path became hazed over with a blanket of fog. Something that we wanted to celebrate with others became a quieter transition. With time, and every adoption, our journey became an explanation. We lost friends, some family became distant and what we thought was a celebration wasn't anything at all. Only other adoptive parents know the feeling of waiting for their new child/children. It's a roller coaster of emotions and as an adoptive parent, you hope that your new child/children are accepted as if they were birthed with the nine months notice. I've personally experienced this not to be the case. Mostly I understand; hence why we transitioned quietly. As our family grew larger we noticed more distancing from individuals. We even received phone calls from other parents stating they didn't want their children playing with ours. Again, I understand. We are not like the general population. Adoption? Some people don't know the difference between adopting and fostering. A large family? What!? Why!? How could most people understand our journey? How could they understand our children's behaviors? Most people haven't heard of attachment disorders and FASD. What is that!? Why doesn't some of our children understand the simple concepts of cause and effect? Why have we had teenage runaways? Why are we so overly involved? Of course other parents don't want to associate with our children, - with our family. It is a risk. It must be the adoptive parents? Perhaps the home life with so many children is understandingly chaotic. However people need to understand that before we adopted our children, our children were already damaged. If it's not from brain damage, trauma, it's from continuous loss causing other disorders. We are left trying to pick up all the pieces, and honestly like a puzzle, some pieces are just lost. Adoption is a loss for every child being adopted. It might be an exciting time for us adoptive parents growing our family, it might be very exciting for the adoptive child however with time, that raw loss from their past resurfaces. So I get why some friends and family don't celebrate adoption. I get why other parents don't want our children to play with theirs. Why we don't get many invites but it doesn't change the fact that it's very sad sometimes to witness. I've written this before and even after ten years, with as much experience and knowledge that I have, it is sad how adoption can be so isolating in many different levels. If you're interested in adopting, you need to educate yourself not only through the adoption education course but through other adoptive families experiences, so you know without a doubt what you're getting yourself in for.
-Loss of friends.
-Possible loss of your own family
-Behaviors you've never dreamed from your children
-Understanding time doesn't cure all. Adolescents is when attachment issues become present, if you haven't already experienced it at a younger age.
-Understanding love doesn't cure all either.
-There is no such thing is a closed adoption anymore. We have had some closed adoptions for several different reasons, however the internet (social media) has changed this. As soon as your child becomes independent and searching for answers, regardless what you do - they will find their birth family. If you're told you're going to have a closed adoption with no access to birth family.....that isn't 100% correct.
With our experiences I can tell you that love isn't enough. You can not change your adoptive child. There is no perfect child. If your proposed child/children have no special needs that doesn't mean there isn't a risk within their future.
Mmmm.....I guess this concludes onto why some friends and family aren't celebrating, and can't understand onto why we would choose this life path anyways!? How does a family like us succeed? Prevention. Patience. Understanding. Education. Forgiveness. Most importantly an open mind and heart. Perseverance. Recently I was speaking with this other experienced adoptive mother with a large family and she agreed that the adoption world is still a foreign identity. Our supports come from other experienced adoptive parents, and not all adoptive parents are experienced like we are. I recently read an article about raising a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, called, "I didn't start the fire" by Shelly Calissendorff, another adoptive mother. (From the Institute for Attachment and Child Development) Her article touched my heart, feeling the same while understanding that us too won't give up trying. As written above, maybe adoption isn't something to celebrate, it's a dedication to hold on too with the people that are willing to accept that it isn't as simple as a birth, it's a fragile path with rocky unknowns making us adoptive families unique, unique because we are surviving regardless if you support us or not. Please read below.......Shelly Calissendorff "I didn't start the fire"
I was out walking in my forest one day and discovered a fire. I was the first one there and was all alone. I started throwing water on it as fast as I could. I called in for help – lots of help. The help would come and go and some of the helpers worked hard and did a great job. Some of them tried to help and although well-intentioned, used the wrong techniques and actually made the fire worse.