Adoption Involves Letting Go

Brilliant short piece on the “letting go” by all involved in the adoption process.

 

Adoption involves letting go.

Some let go of their dream of having children biologically. (Infertility)

Others let go of their dream of having children who look similar to them. (Transracial adoption.)

The foster moms and dads who take care of these little and not-so-little beings let go of babies they were with night and day.

We had to let go of the dream of nurturing a little one from his/her earliest hours. I wanted to watch every single moment of development myself, even with the risk of birth mother changing her mind in the allotted 60 days.

Hearing the social worker’s report that she smiles, brought a pang of pain. Why was she smiling in foster care instead of with me?

The birth mothers (and fathers sometimes) regretfully also let go.

Will you be the one who lets go of your preconceptions and receives what someone else had to let go?

I was there when our daughter’s mother, seeing her after three and a half months, told her as she let go, “Here’s your Mommy.” She let go, trusting that the gift I received would be held onto for dear life.

One day our girl will see the full picture. Not just me receiving, but the mother whose hand can be seen in this photo-letting go.

We need more people to open up their hands to receive.

* This was posted on a personal blog on Facebook, go and check out her page at Imperfect Mom of Three

everyone needs a little Grace in their lives: Dear Birthmother

Wow! Such a beautiful letter honouring the birthmothers of her children. With Mother’s Day coming up tomorrow or is impossible not to think about so many women out there remembering and even also mourning the children that they couldn’t keep to raise up themselves. I can only pray that the two precious birthmothers of my children will feel the comfort of our Heavenly Father and know that they are also treasured and honoured.

http://gilandamy.blogspot.ca/2015/05/dear-birthmother.html?m=1

Please Reconsider That T-Shirt

This is so true! No adopted child is “saved”, “fortunate”, “lucky” to be adopted so don’t advertise it!

PLEASE RECONSIDER THAT T-SHIRT

March 12, 2014

This isn’t a fashion blog (wouldn’t that be fun!), but let’s talk about clothing. And I’m sure you’re wondering how this topic could possibly relate to adoption, but I promise it does.

I remember the first time I saw one. The lady was confidently wearing it and toting her transracially adopted child in her arms. And then I saw another one sported by a mom who was holding the hand of an unknowing toddler with black hair and dark brown eyes.

One Less Orphan was screen-printed on the first mama’s shirt. Just ADOPT!  said the second mother’s tee.

With the same cotton fabric but with different texts and graphics, similar t-shirts say:

Save the children! (with a graphic of the country of China)
Orphan No More
147 Million Orphans
Expecting… (and then a graphic of Ethiopia… or China… or Korea…)
Adopt Ethiopia!
147,000,000 orphans… minus 1!
Change One Life

or a t-shirt that gives statistics of third world countries and then the words, Adopt One!

Before I write any further, I realize that the people who make and wear these pieces (or dress their kids in them) are likely coming from a place of love. They mean no harm. In fact, they are likely compassionate and creative and want to care for children just like you and I do.

But when I see these t-shirts, I cringe, recognizing the incredible amount of attention they put on adopted children. Just walk a day in the life of a transracially adopted child, and you’ll see he already gets copious amounts of attention given the mismatched appearance he has with his parent(s).

Then add the presence of one of the t-shirts, pushing him into the spotlight further and without his consent, and it screams, “THIS KID WAS AN ORPHAN!” It makes the child, even if unintentionally, the poster child for international adoption or for orphan care. Yes, the child instantly becomes an advertisement for adoption.

Beyond the issue of elevating the child as an ambassador for international adoption, these t-shirts connote far more than the actual words and graphics. Strangers and others start seeing the child as a service project. Or view the first grader as a charity case rather than a boy who likes Legos like his friends. Or perhaps others will believe the child is continually in need of saving or rescuing, given that the a-parents wear these t-shirts again and again and again. Some will fail to see the child as any other child but rather first as an orphan in need of pity.

And what comments and conversations do these t-shirts evoke?

Oh, you’re child is so lucky to have been adopted.
That poor, poor child. He’s so fortunate.

And to think she would have grown up in an orphanage without you.
You’re such an angel for adopting!
She was once so helpless and now she has you!
Thank goodness she could come to America.
I sure hope he grows up to know how lucky he is and what you went through to adopt him.

You can imagine how these comments and ensuing conversations might be internalized by the adopted child and how they may affect identity formation. That, however, could be a whole other blog post.

I understand that these shirts are worn proudly to raise awareness or to celebrate adoption and/or children. I recognize that proceeds for some of these shirts are used to feed and shelter vulnerable children, but could we think of other ways to accomplish these same goals — perhaps ones that do not dehumanize adopted children into numbers or charity cases in their presence? What an unnecessary and tremendous burden to put on adopted children, reducing them and their personal stories to pity, propaganda, and statistics.

I’ve surely stepped on some toes, but I urge you to consider what you might not have already.

* This post was posted originally here.

When Infertility and Adoption Collide

Another article that really hit a nerve for me, as I realise that I too will carry the burden of infertility for the rest of my life. As she writes: “After all, while adoption does grow a family, it isn’t a cure for infertility. It doesn’t erase the pain or the sleepless nights spent weeping for the loss of a dream.”

There were so many things my husband and I didn’t know before we decided to grow our family. We didn’t know how incredibly hilarious preschoolers are. We didn’t know that although a child may be potty “trained,” they might choose not to exercise that skill. We didn’t know how innocently a child can love and how quick they are to forgive. We also didn’t know how intensely angry and out-of-control that same child could be! We didn’t know about the Wild Kratts or Angelina Ballerina. We had no idea about car seat laws. We also didn’t know that we were walking into years of infertility.

About three years ago, my husband and I, quite naïvely, decided to grow our family of two. We began trying to conceive and pursuing our foster care license at the same time. I remember my husband saying, “Let’s just walk through whatever doors God opens,” and, while I was nodding my head in agreement, I was really only thinking of foster care, assuming we’d be pregnant in no time. Well, we walked through the open doors and none of them led to a pregnancy or even a baby.

Those doors led to two gorgeous kids, ages 5 and nearly 3 when they joined our family over a year and a half ago. They have completely changed our world, and, about a month after saying yes to those four precious eyes and twenty continuously dirty little fingers, Joe and I sat in a doctor’s office and were diagnosed with infertility. At that point, I was still in disbelief. I was thinking, “Okay God, You must be letting these littles settle in, and then You will give us a baby.” Nope. That’s not what He was doing. He was just plain ole’ closing doors.

Once I began accepting those closed doors, I realized something profoundly deeper than I ever had before–infertility is about more than not being able to grow a family, and, for that reason, exists independently from adoption. I got honest with myself and openly admitted that I really want a biological child too, especially after seeing and knowing the deep hurts of the two children in my arms. God has written a story of redemption for my two children, as He works in their lives and displays His love for them. I’ve been so thankful to be a part of that story, but I’m still hoping to be a part of another storyline for a child–a story where I protect them from the very beginning, always keeping them safe and loved, where the plot is without trauma, abuse, or tragic loss. I want to walk the journey that God intended for every child from the beginning, not just the journey that has resulted from a broken and fallen world.

Having experienced infertility and adoption both first-hand, I also began to call out all of my prior judgments of people who “just adopted” because they couldn’t get pregnant. First of all, there is no such thing as “just adopting.” Adoption is huge. It isn’t about “just” loving a child. It isn’t “just” a way to grow a family. It isn’t something you “just” do as Plan B. It is hard. It is life changing. It is born out of so much hurt and pain.

And it isn’t for everyone.

Adoption can be expensive. It can take years of waiting. It is emotionally draining, both before and after the adoption is complete. It can mean a completely different lifestyle from what was expected. Anyone who has walked through infertility can also identify with these, as it is also expensive, long, emotionally draining, and definitely outside of one’s expectations of life. While the journey of infertility may be preparing some hearts to be stretched and refined all over again with adoption, it may also be shaping others to move a different direction entirely. After all, while adoption does grow a family, it isn’t a cure for infertility. It doesn’t erase the pain or the sleepless nights spent weeping for the loss of a dream.

Adoption doesn’t end the journey of infertility.

It certainly hasn’t ended ours. We are walking these paths independently from each other. In one moment we may mourn the loss of a dream as we wait on a little pink line that never comes, and, in the next, we are celebrating the amazing act of redemption happening in our children and us through the blessing of adoption. And in each of these moments, we have learned that we can keep praising Christ, because He is our fortress. He holds us up. He supports us. He strengthens us. In the throws of infertility and adoption, He is there standing, proving His faithfulness. 

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

* This article was first published on www.lifesongfororphans.org.

Top 5 Tips for Hosting an Adoption Baby Shower

I was blessed to have experience both times a lovely Adoption Baby Shower before our children were placed with us. Especially for someone that have faced the trauma and emotional sadness of never experiencing pregnancy, having a baby shower is very special and in a way help to deal with the loss of never having biological children. This article give helpful pointers for the person arranging the baby shower.

 

Top 5 Tips for Hosting an Adoption Baby Shower

Having a baby shower is something many expectant moms look forward to.

But when a parent is expecting via adoption, it can be difficult to plan a baby shower because often times there’s no timeline, no specific age or gender and no guarantee that the adoption plan will be fulfilled.

Still, celebrating your friend or family member’s choice to become a parent through adoption is important, and there are ways to be creative in the process.

Here are a few tips for hosting an adoption baby shower.

1.       Be intentional with language

Be intentional with your party planning. Don’t reference pregnancy or childbirth. Instead, focus on welcoming a new child into the family.

2.       Specify the age of the child

If your loved one is adopting a baby or an older child, make sure you specify it in the invitation so guests can seek out age-appropriate gifts. By the way, some graphic designers offer discounted invitations and announcements for adoptive families.

3.       Consider a “Welcome Home” shower

Because adoptions can fail or timelines can change, it may be a better idea to wait until a child is home with his/her family before showering the new family with love and gifts. Before doing so, however, ask the new parents when they’re most comfortable introducing their child to a group of people. Make sure they have the time they need to start forming a healthy relationship with their child.

4.       Brainstorm a personalized theme for the family

Honor the heritage of the new child’s homeland and incorporate food and décor from his/her home state or country. Did the new family travel by air? By car? Are they thrilled to be done with paperwork? Consider personalized items (like these cookies from Purdy Cookies) to celebrate the uniqueness of their adoption journey.

5.       Be creative

Ask guests to bring a frozen meal for the new family or children’s books with an adoption story-line instead of cards. Consider hosting a gift card shower instead of a traditional baby shower, particularly with new parents of older children or new foster parents. Gift cards for local restaurants or movie theaters make for fun memories.

* This post was first published here.

“Why Didn’t You Adopt a White Baby?”

Love this little bit tongue-in-cheek but also honest look at typical questions multi-racial adoptive families get. 🙂

“Why Didn’t You Adopt a White Baby?” and Other Questions I Wish People Would Stop Asking

I’m a mom of three children, all of whom were adopted at birth. My kids are black, and my husband and I are white. When we visit the park, eat at a restaurant, meander around the mall, or stand in a checkout line, we can reliably predict the questions and comments that will come our way.

We are a multi-racial adoptive family, and we realize that our uncommon path to parenthood evokes curiosity. However, there are days we can’t even buy toilet paper or order a sandwich without hearing, “Excuse me … ” followed by a request for personal information or an assumption about adoption or race.  It gets tiresome to respond to the same questions and comments over and over, all while standing right beside my children who are listening and learning about the world.

Here are some things I really wish people would stop saying to us:

1. “Are you going to tell the kids they are adopted?”

Um, they already know. And I think they’d figure it out even if we didn’t tell them.

2. “Are the kids real siblings?”

Of course. Kids in the same family are “real” siblings. We are the real parents. We are a real family. Authenticity isn’t based on genetics.

3. “Oh! I’ve always wanted a little brown baby. They are SO SO SO cute!” 

Yes, my kids are adorable. But a brown-skinned child isn’t an accessory to be carried around. My kids, you know the ones standing right next to me, are people with feelings, and there’s much more to them than their looks – such as their intelligence, talents, and humor.

4. “What country are they from?”

Um, the Midwest. In the United States. Not all black kids were adopted from Africa.

5. “Isn’t it so hard to do their hair?”

(This one is usually proceeded by an attempt to fondle the kids’ heads.) Like anything in parenting, moms and dads learn as they go. And please, please do not touch my children. You are a stranger, and my children aren’t puppies to pet. Also, that hair you are admiring took hours to style, so keep your grimy hands off!

6. “It’s so nice of you to provide them with a loving home. The kids are so lucky to have you as their parents.”

We didn’t rescue our children. They came from loving families and were placed with us for reasons we don’t disclose out of respect for the birth families’ privacy. We are the lucky ones, so please don’t act like our kids are charity cases.

7.“Why didn’t you adopt a white baby?”

We were open to adopting a child of any race. We were chosen, three times, to become parents of a black child. Our ability to love a child has nothing to do with the child’s race.

8. “I heard adoption is so expensive! Doesn’t adopting cost a ton of money?”

Financial matters aren’t usually a topic of discussion between strangers. But since you are just itching to know how much adoption costs, you can call adoption agencies and ask. And keep in mind, adopting from foster care is free.

9. “I’ve always wanted to adopt, but I know that adopted kids have problems.”

Yes, all adopted children are exactly the same. Thankfully we have Lifetime movies to provide the public with stereotypical adoption education. You do realize my children are standing right here as you proclaim how all adopted children have issues, right?

10. “Now that you’ve adopted, are you going to try to have your own kids?”

These are our own kids. And unless you’re my gynecologist, my uterus is none of your concern.

Tip: The next time you see a family like mine, treat them just as they are, fellow human beings. Interrogations aren’t appreciated. Smiles are.

This post was taken from www.Adoption.Com

“Say This, Not That”

It is common to find people asking questions about adoption, the children and the whole process. Probably due to ignorance more than rudeness, these questions sometimes come across insensitive in the way they are formulated.

This post is a good guidance to rethink the question you want to ask and to formulate it a little bit different. A good read!

“Say This, Not That”

I have had all 6 questions asked to me before, in a few different ways and certainly the one being said/asked the most is – “He is so lucky that you are his parents!”. I do understand the reasoning behind it, but we still firmly believe the WE (their parents) are the lucky and blessed ones to have these special children in our family.

 

A Prayer For Our Growing Children

I recently started using PrayerMate – an app for your mobile device that helps you to organise your prayer life without causing distractions. It is very useful and I can really say that after using it for 2 weeks I feel that my prayer life in general is more focused.

Through the app’s interface you can access different sample prayers and I came across this prayer for your children. How powerful!!

 

A Prayer For Our Children – Jason Helopoulos

As they mature and leave the home
Provide them adequate finances, but not riches
spouses who will love them, but not worship them
Give them sorrows, but not too deep
struggles, but not too great
Make them seasoned, but not hopeless
comfortable in their own skin, but not vain
zealous, but equally wise
knowledgeable, but filled with humility
content, but continually striving
Allow them to be confident, but not cocky
humble, but not sheepish
gracious, but not fearful
Mature their body in strength
their emotions with sophistication
and their imaginations with grounding
Fill their lungs with deep laughter
and their souls with joy

But even as I pray these things,
there is one prayer that soars above the rest
Bestow upon them your grace
Lavish them with your mercy
Drench them with your love
Give them the gift of faith
Satiate all their appetites with you
Fill them with your Holy Spirit
Set them apart for your holy service
Bring them into union with Christ
Let their hearts know a peace that surpasses understanding
Grant that my children would be Your children

That would make this child exceedingly thankful
Hear my prayer, O Father of mercy and grace