What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Was Touched By Adoption (or What I Wish My Parents Knew.)
I speak several times a year to adoptive parents looking for answers and insights from someone who has been through the trenches and came out the other side relatively unscathed. I share my story but make a point to stress that there are no simple answers and definitely no "right" answers. The best you can do is to continue asking questions and seeking answers in order to make informed decisions specific to your child.
The saying is true, you know your child best. Your child's challenges, gifts and heart are uniquely theirs. My experiences are not their experiences. Because I wish I went to culture camp doesn't mean your child will. At the end of the day no one can fault you for not signing your child up for native language lessons or for making your child do an oral report on their country of origin every year in front of their class or not celebrating their arrival day or for naming them after your great aunt. No matter how hard we try our children our going to love us, resent us, be embarrassed by us and love us again, and that is in just one day! When my parents worry if they did everything right or lament about the "should of's", I tell them -- You loved me and did the best you knew how at the time. That was enough.
My being adopted doesn't make me any better of a adoptive parent than any one else. I struggle and question with whether I am making the right decisions for my children. Don't most parents? I have met a tremendous number of adoptive parents through the years and I can tell you I have met some truly amazing parents.
To read more about our adoption journeys click here.
Thank you for this post. I think most adoptive parents, maybe more than bio parents (maybe), wonder if we are "doing it right". Wonder if we've found that balance between creating our own family and respecting our children's backgrounds. Your point about being able to empathize and that it's still your daughter's journey really put things in perspective.
"I know my role is not to make her journey mine."
This will stick with me for a long time. It will help me remember that every child is unique; every child will process his or her story differently. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts... and your heart with all of us.
"As an adoptive parent, it saddens me to think she will feel a deep rift in her soul, yet I have to allow her to lay claim to those emotions."
Thanks so much for this....Great to have this kind of perspective. I still have LOTS to learn. Thanks so much for your support, I am so nervous and need as much as I can get :)
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