He joined us just over six weeks ago
Six weeks of getting to know each other.
In these six weeks we have had to navigate being a new family with a baby, who isn’t a newborn.
We have been exceptionally grateful for the conversations, the listening, the Facebook groups talking around things from a transracial adoption perspectives, adoptive parents’, birth-moms’ and adoptees’ perspectives that happened in the build-up to meeting our little boy.
We ventured out of the house for rambles, just the three of us, in the first week of being together.
In the first week of being together we already ran into questions and statements – some well-meant, some simply curious and some just inappropriate; like how our family was joined.
We have had to navigate some racial stuff.
We have had to navigate questions around his story.
We have had to navigate questions around the adoption process and costs.
All of this is stuff beyond simply being a family
Beyond the (happens to all I know) unsolicited comments and advice. Comments and advice which I know are well-meant but don’t always acknowledge that adoption starts with a relationship ending, or more than one, as between the birth-moms and adopted families there are foster or places-of-safety placements for adoptees too.
When we adopt, our families start with navigating a grief…
So, regardless of how cute, or little, or challenging our children are, when we adopt, our families start with navigating a grief.
My own story involves having being intimately involved in the life of another little boy, who called me his mamma for a season, despite my reminding him that I couldn’t be. Having to step back from his life was one of the hardest things I have ever done. (He is in a permanent placement now, with siblings, and I celebrated the sweetness of that, despite the bitterness of saying goodbye. He taught me much about parenting and loving babies and being available when you don’t ‘feel’ awake, rested and sociable enough!)
My own story involves having to face the awareness that the grief I have around this creates empathy for my son’s birth mom and yet is not the same. The grief of knowing that you have to say goodbye to someone and step back from their lives, and yet they are very much alive.
We, my guy and I, both believe that our family story isn’t just ours, as the adoptive parents.
Not every adoptive family will feel this way. The internet is full of public disclosures by adoptive families.
Our family being an adoptive family is already public – we can’t pretend that we are genetically linked!
Our family story also belongs to his birth mom, as well as to him
We adopted by choice. He needs choices to navigate the world as the world gets bigger and he engages more of it.
It needs to be his story to tell.
Deeply grateful for friends and family who have honoured this space as well as created safety for us as a new family to be a new family, regardless of our incredible boy’s age!