November has been designated National Adoption Month- which is meant to recognize and celebrate families created through adoption, and hopefully create a greater awareness of the number of children throughout the world living without permanent and loving parents. While I think it is important to draw national attention to the topic of adoption and children without families, this really isn't the kind of “holiday” that we celebrate at our house. Around here, it's just the way our family was made- we don't think it is special or unique- in fact we know lots of families who were formed at least in part through adoption. So to us it is one of many ways to form a family.
Why did we adopt?
That being said- I realize that to the rest of the world our family looks unique- both in size as well as the fact that we don't physically resemble each other. And this uniqueness leads to many kinds of questions… people wonder why we decided to adopt children when we already had children “of our own”…. a phrase that makes me cringe every time it is asked. For the record, all six of my children are “my own”– completely and forever- whatever uterus they came from is of no consequence when it comes to defining them as “my own children”.
Some other assumptions people often make…
Did we decide to “try for the girl” since we first had three biological sons? (Um…. no!)
Was adopting a baby “easier” than having one by birth? (Actually, adopting was much more difficult for us than having children by birth)
In this post (written last November), I explain why we chose to adopt. And in this post I share how I explained our decision to adopt with family members.
Is it the same? Raising a biological child and an adopted child?
In some ways- yes- the basics are all the same. Every child needs a family and love, and rules and routines. And they need to know that they can expect these things every day in a safe and loving environment. But is some ways, parenting an adopted child is different. And that's because at the start of every “adoption story”, there first is a devastating, nearly unimaginable loss- the loss of that child's first family. How that affects a child is different for every person, but this fact can never be dismissed or underplayed. And this is one of the reasons while I also cringe when people call my children “lucky”. “Lucky” would be never having to loss your first family… for any reason. Period.
I wrote about the parenting of biological vs adopted children in this article.
“So-what do you know about your child's birth parents and why he or she was available for adoption”?
I am asked this question from time to time… often by someone whom I do not know very well. And honestly? The story of my child's background belongs to him or her and is really not up for public discussion. I shared my thoughts on oversharing a child's story here.
For the rest of this week I plan to talk about the subject of adoption here at Momof6. I plan to come forward about questions that I wish people wouldn't ask me infront of my kids… I plan to share some of the challenges involved with adopting an older child, and I plan to talk about including and honoring your adopted child's birth family in you life, even when you know nothing about them. This is the time and the place- to ask me any questions that you have about my family (because in this forum you would be asking me- at a time when my kids are not listening)…. or to share your own stories about adoption in your life. Please leave a comment!