Dear Adoptive Parents and those waiting to adopt,
I just had a thought on something adoptive parents and adoptees have in common, and it’s something I don’t think people get, but lets back-up and start with the basics.
I know many of you came to adoption due to infertility and loss. I’ve also heard many of you, both before and after adopting speak of how it feels to see someone pregnant, the pregnancy announcements, the ultra-sound pictures, the baby announcements, and showers you are expected to attend with a smile on your face, not to mention the church services honoring mothers, and yes, the poorly thought out pregnancy jokes.
I’m sorry for that.
I also know you don’t understand the reactions an adoptee can have when you guys talk about being matched, being at the birth, the adoption, and all the rest. Nor, the reaction to those stories about the paramedic adopting the baby they delivered that you think are so amazing. I know you think an adoptee should be thrilled at the news, we’re adopted after all, so if we aren’t over-the-moon thrilled we must be anti-adoption, an angry adoptee, or just plain old have the proverbial bad experience.
But here’s the deal; being adopted is complicated.
We are both; the adoption family side and the first family side. In order to be adopted, one side of us, our first family lost us, and the ramifications that reverberate in our family that may not be seen by others. We know few (if any) mother truly doesn’t want their child, nor grandparent to lose their grandchild. Loss of a child is unquantifiable. We also know decisions were made by (or for) our mothers, we know grief is (can be) the overwhelming experience on that side. We also recognise the joy on your side, even the mix of your dream coming true and the twinge (or more) of the loss you still have and always will.
But celebrating a baby who’s lived a minute loosing their birthright (for good or bad) and will live with the complexity, and the complicated life being adopted can bring, is hard. We’ve lived it; the good parts, the bad, the laughter, the tears that fall unseen by our family, the love we have for family we grew up in, the loss we feel for our family we’ll never know, or barely know, because we are adopted and don’t have the lifetime of memories that create those bonds that endure, make you comfortable.
So, when you post those miracle adoption stories, or your adoption pictures, talk about how beautiful it was to be at the hospital, court, all that stuff, in a way, it’s the same way you felt, likely still feel, when you see the pregnancy, birth, shower announcements, and everything else that made you (makes you) want to hide away.
It’s different, but same.