We were joined just over 6 weeks ago.
6 weeks of getting to know each other.
In these 6 weeks we have had to navigate being a new family with a baby, but who isn’t a new born.
We have been exceptionally grateful for the conversations, the listening, the facebook groups talking around things from a transracial adoption perspectives, adoptive parents, birthmoms perspectives and adoptees perspectives that happened in the build up to meeting our boy.
We ventured out the house for rambles, just the 3 of us in the first week of being together.
In the first week of being together we had already run into questions and statements– some well meant, some simply curious and some just inappropriate re: how our family was joined.
We have had to navigate some racial stuff.
We have had to navigate questions around his story.
We have had to navigate questions around the adoption process and costs.
All of this is stuff beyond simply being a family. Beyond simply being a new family. Beyond the (happens to all I know) unsolicited comments and advice. Comments and advice which I know are well meant but don’t always acknowledge that adoption starts with a relationship (or more than one as between birthmoms and adopted families there are foster/ place of safety placements for adoptees too) ending. So regardless of how cute, or little, or challenging our children are, when we adopt, our families start with navigating a grief.
My own story involves having being intimately involved in another little boy’s life who called me his mamma for a season despite my reminding him that I couldn’t be. Having to step back from his life was one of the hardest things I have ever done (He is in a permanent placement now with siblings and I celebrated the sweetness of that despite the bitterness of saying goodbye. He taught me much about parenting and loving babies and being available when you don’t ‘feel’ awake, rested & sociable enough!)
My own story involves having to face an awareness that the grief that I have around this creates empathy for my son’s birth mom and yet is not the same. The grief of knowing that you have to say goodbye to someone and step back from their lives and yet they are very much alive.
We, my guy and I, both believe that our family story isn’t just ours as the adoptive parents.
Not every adoptive family will feel this way. The internet is full of public disclosures by adoptive families.
Our family being an adoptive family is already public – we can’t pretend that we are genetically his!
Our family story also belongs to his birth mom, as well as to him.
We adopted by choice. He needs choices to navigate the world as the world gets bigger and he engages more of it.
It needs to be his story to tell.
Deeply grateful for friends and family who have honoured this space as well as created safety for us as a new family to be a new family, regardless of our incredible boy’s age!