We adopted all 3 of our children at birth via domestic infant adoption. After going through the adoption process, I can say with confidence that adoption is not easy. It’s a huge emotional roller coaster with some pretty deep lows and incredible highs and everything in between. For a short while, after you have your child home, you’re flying on an amazing high. After the adoption is finalized, you breathe that huge sigh of relief, but you eventually realize adoption isn’t really over. You can’t just end the conversation. It will be a talk you continue to have throughout the years.
Your kids might have questions. The questions and conversations will probably get harder as they get older. Maybe you’ll have answers for them or maybe you don’t and you will just lend a listening ear and hug to comfort them. You might have a stretch of years where the topic of adoption rarely comes up. At some point, they might tell you they wish they lived with their “real” mom. There’s a good chance they do wonder what it would be like if they got to stay with their first family. Wouldn’t you? Depending on the context, they might simply be saying it to get a rise out of you. I want my kids to know they can tell us anything about adoption or otherwise. I will do my best to put my feelings aside and allow them to feel whatever they need to.
This week we got some pretty shocking news about one of my child’s adoptions. Out of privacy and respect for my child and their first families, I won’t say more than that. But trust me when I say shocking. It left me struggling to catch my breath. The news immediately made me sad for my child. It breaks my heart that we’re eventually going to have to have a really difficult conversation. A conversation that most will never have to have. I felt so many raw emotions when that figurative bombshell was dropped on us but overwhelmingly, it was my child who I thought of and my heart just shattered.
Adoption isn’t easy. Despite my kids coming home to us as newborns, they still had so much loss in those early days. They lost everything they knew. My voice, my smell- It wasn’t familiar to them since my womb wasn’t the one they grew in. It’s a basic human right to know where you come from. Sadly, that isn’t always the case for kids who were adopted.
I’m blessed with some pretty good friends who also happen to adoptive moms. It’s great to have that connection to others who get it- they know about all the joy adoption brings, but they also understand there can be trying times for all parties involved. Talking with them made me realize that we’ll all have to have difficult conversations with our kids. Depending on their story, the conversations will vary slightly but in the end, we’ll all be reassuring our kids that they are enough and that they are (and always will be) loved.