November is National Adoption Month. This is a reminder that we can all take time out to promote adoption and focus on finding children without a family a forever place to call home, a place to feel safe, feel loved, feel wanted, to create an opportunity to have pride in the family unit and to create an atmosphere of true attachment and achievement.
Thinking about adoption? There are many ways to give a child a home. Consider younger children, teenagers and/or sibling groups from foster care being welcomed into your family. Did you know there are 107,000 children and youth waiting for permanent families in the U.S. foster care system?
If international adoption is more where your heart desires the state department has some great information on their page, including countries open right now.
Not sure where to start, or even whether to start? Connect with other families getting ready to adopt or who have already finished the process. Adoption.com has a parenting forum and links to adoption professionals. Finally grab a subscription to Adoptive Families Magazine to get lots of great information, whether you are just starting, in the process, or living as a forever family. Adoptive families has topics related to all ages in adoption.
I am sure if you read my blog regularly you wonder if I really am an adoption advocate. Our story is difficult to read, it’s even harder to live, and unfortunately I believe from the email and correspondence I receive it can be very typical. Don’t let it discourage you though, my best advice would be, be prepared for the worst and celebrate the best. After all we go through, after all that I know, I still wouldn’t change a thing. Not because I am Mother Theresa or because I have some warped desire to carry on hurting, but because I know that if not me, then who? Why not me, why not us? The only thing I wish is that we were more prepared for the idea of trauma. I wish we had known about therapeutic parenting from day 1, but we didn’t. Now that we do, life is changing, yes we are making a difference, we are laughing more and frustrated less.
If you are thinking of adopting and are reading this, you have the benefit of knowing this today! All kids who are separated from their Birth Mother are going to have some kind of trauma. I know, I know, the denial can be loud against that, but I firmly believe it’s the truth. After 9 months of living inside a person, hearing their voice (auditory sounds can be heard by the fetus at 16 weeks), feeling their moods, listening to the rhythm of their heartbeat, the baby is attached to the Birth Mother. We have to think when a baby loses that connection they are going to experience that as a traumatic experience, whether we want to believe that or not. We can live in denial or better, we can accept it as true and take the time to adjust. Simply we can choose to parent in a way that re-fosters that connection, a way that rebuilds trust, safety, security, parent not in a behavioral way but in a loving, therapeutic way.
We cannot force another human being to love us, simply we can offer love and know that it may or may not be returned. Some kids can cope, others have a harder time. Being ready for that is the best we can do. Parenting does not come with guarantees, this is true for both biological and adopted children alike. Your child may never become the doctor, the lawyer, the scholar or the beauty queen you desire, and in the end we have no right to expect that, we don’t own our children, they are all simply borrowed, a scant moment in their lifetime to share with us. Eventually they will take off and soar, what they do is inevitably their choice not ours, but we can take pride in knowing we at least helped them get there!
Ultimately we may fail as parents, our son may never feel whole again, we may not affect the change we hope for, we may never make him feel any safer than he does right now! But if we never tried we would never know. “If I never loved I never would have cried” rings true for both, and it doesn’t always have to be a negative. We would never know that depth of feeling, that abyss that takes us to places we never imagined, or the joy we know when we see him triumph. We are trying and we are succeeding, we are loving, we are an adoptive family!