Monday’s Child: Family or Adoptive Family?
Back in 2003-2004 when I was up to my eyeballs in the adoption process, I read everything I could get my hands on about adoption. I sniffed out every website, every magazine, and every book I could find. I tried to prepare myself for growing my family in this way. I tried to find every tidbit of information that would help make the transitions for my children as smooth as possible. I was totally immersed.
Something strange happened after I brought both my children home. Rather than staying in the middle of the adoption information circle, I decided that I no longer needed those resources. I was determined that we were a family now – not an adoptive family, but a family. Yes, we stuck out like a sore thumb in public with my two dark-haired, dark-skinned Latino children and their blonde, fair older sister with just one parent, not two. Still – we were family. Period.
There are pros and cons to taking on that attitude. Yes we are family for life. These children are my children just as surely as if I had given birth to them myself. But we are not like every other family. My son does not seem particularly interested or affected by his adoption story, but my daughter definitely is. When she started asking questions and expressing some of the pain and grief that she is processing in her sweet little heart over a family in Guatemala, I began to realize that I need to stay engaged in the language of adoption. It matters to her. It will matter one day to my son, probably. It is important that I, as their mother, be prepared for the stages of grief and acceptance that will come as my children grow and develop. The more I know, the better I can handle it. The better I can handle it, the healthier and happier my children will be.
I am re-immersing myself into the adoption information circle. I will do it for my family. My forever, adoptive family.