As I sit here in the throes of writing a book, I realize I’m at a crossroads. The story that I’m telling is all about my mental health journey, homeschooling, motherhood, and adoption through foster care.
The last one is tough.
There’s still so much of which our culture needs to be aware when it comes to this complicated gift.
There are a lot of people online and even fellow writers who haven’t listened to or read adult adoptee research, voices, and perspectives. Because of this, I fear that we’re on the brink of a lot more trauma.
I have three biological siblings living under my roof who all have a story separate from and prior to living with our family. They are mine by law, but also free from me. They find their true belonging somewhere else altogether because I was not their start.
It’s in this paradoxical framework that I think society needs to hear two very important things about adoptees.
These children owe nothing to anyone.
My adopted children don’t owe me gratitude, a relationship, or any kind of validation when they are older.
It makes my skin crawl to hear, “Oh, they must be so grateful that you took them in.”
The truth is that these children were ripped from their families of origin. This is true whether they came from foster care, a private adoption, or donor IVF.
Not knowing his or her biological mother and father will always leave a gaping hole in a child’s life.
This doesn’t mean we cease these practices. It does mean we let these voices be heard.
These children are allowed to be angry. They are allowed to be frustrated with not only their biological parents but their adopted family as well.
They will almost always feel a missing piece, a void, rejection, and pain.
They are allowed to be angry with adoptive parents who blog and vlog all over the internet–seemingly portraying themselves as martyrs who rescued these children.
When names are changed through adoption, these children are allowed to unapologetically take back their first identity when they enter adulthood. It’s not a lack of appreciation but a desire to heal, forgive, and overcome their past.
Adoptive parents, friends of the family, support networks, and anyone who interacts with an adopted child needs to support them in their feelings—no matter how ungrateful they may sound.
Is adoption beautiful? Yes.
Is adoption also trauma? Absolutely yes.
This is especially true when an adoptee feels like their expressions of anger, frustration, grief, sadness, and longing for a biological connection are wrong or ungrateful.
Adopters are not the ultimate storytellers; their adopted children are.
Legally, I could write a book on the fine details of my bonus babies’ lives and there would be no consequence because they are now mine.
For the child’s emotional health, however, this is so destructive. I have, in fact, written out my babies’ journeys. It is both ugly and beautiful. I have learned so much through the intertwining of the lives of two very different families and cultures.
God has blessed me beyond all measure. I have three biological children and three from adoption . . . and they all inexplicably have equal parts of my heart.
Even with that truth, there are gaps of time in their little lives, parts of their story, to which I have no rights. It is my daily prayer that God shows me what to keep sacred and what to share for His glory in order to advocate for the voiceless.
Let’s let them have their story. They’ve lost enough.
To my fellow adoptive momma, I want you to know I have failed. Part of bonding is failing, but it’s surely difficult with those who’ve already faced insurmountable trauma.
My prayer is that every adoptive parent and every child adoptee would know the beauty of the process and would seek out connection when all seems lost. Some days are so hard and some days it feels like we fit perfectly with these children God has given us.
We just have to keep listening to these precious ones. In them, God has placed a wealth of information, understanding, and grace.