Everyone involved in the adopted kids/teacher conversation, listen: Just because we are sensitive to our kids’ trauma (and we adopted ours when they were older with their memories and grief very intact), this does not mean that we are not also writing a narrative that ‘you are ours – entirely, gratefully, forever.’
Of course we are.
Of course they are.
It simply means we pay attention when their little hearts are pricked with questions, assignments, projects, and conversations that force them to recount their great losses in a setting where most of their classmates happily bring in a baby photo, recount inherited traits, explain their family tree, describe their history. My kids’ worst moments are theirs to tell when they are ready to tell them, not when they are blindsided and unprepared to discuss it. We absolutely talk openly and honestly about everything that has ever happened to our kids: their history, their good memories, their culture, their country, their inclusion into our lucky family, their sad feelings, their happy feelings. We absolutely bring adoption books into their classrooms and talk about their story – at THEIR request and in their chosen timing.
If you were adopted and never had a single feeling of loss or grief in a public peer setting, I could not possibly be happier for you. How wonderful. I am so glad you were healed and whole from an early age. I sincerely am.
Most parents who have adopted are simply listening to THEIR children, no two have the same exact story, and we are parenting them with all the care and intentionality and love we possibly can.
If our kids have come home bawling their eyes out from a school project before? We are listening.
If our kids have explained in whispers that they are nervous about their ‘All About Me’ project that includes baby pics and birth stories? We receive and hear that and heaven help us, we will protect them from these unnecessary alienations if we can in the future.
We trust God to heal their little broken hearts, but in the meantime, we will wrap them in parental love and protection like it is our job.
With such a challenging topic like adoption, may we be ever so gracious with one another, knowing that your story is not my story is not their story. Let’s offer our own experiences without tearing down other good parents and adult adoptees who have a different story, different levels of grief, different environments, different personalities, different paths to healing. We need each other on this difficult road. It is so helpful to find a safe space to hold one another up without being criticized for doing it all wrong. Let’s make room for one another here, sharing our perspectives while also holding each others stories with careful hands.
The one thing I know is this: adopted kids, AP’s, and blended families are doing their best and every single child who is working so hard to overcome and every single parent who is holding their hand deserves stadiums of love and support. STADIUMS. I, for one, am standing on my chair, slow clapping for every brave adopted child and adult adoptee, every fierce Mama and Daddy determined to raise them up, and every friend and extended family member who helps hold up our arms. BRAVO. Heroes, all of you.