National Adoption Month
As many of you know, my husband and I recently adopted a sweet little baby boy. I’m not ready to share our entire adoption story yet (maybe on his first birthday) but I do want to share some of what makes adoption so special to me.
November is National Adoption Month and I wish I could thoroughly explain what adoption feels like. It’s hard to explain. I went into it knowing it would be hard. I knew it would be emotional. I knew it would be challenging. But I didn’t really know. Kind of sounds like parenting, doesn’t it? You see, I didn’t know I would fall in love with his birth parents. I didn’t know we would spend a month in the NICU. I didn’t know there would be simple moments that would stick with me forever and I certainly didn’t know it would change my opinion on life, forever.
When we first adopted Colin, I was incredibly sensitive about adoption language. Which months before, I hadn’t even know what was “right” and “wrong.” But when you go through adoption, certain words give you feelings. I have even said the wrong thing before and I certainly don’t hold it against people. I was so sensitive in the beginning, but now I want to answer these questions and work to correct people to educate them on adoption and what adoption really is. I want to share this information that was emailed to me by our beloved Bethany Christian Services, through whom, we adopted our sweet boy. We wouldn’t be his parents without them!
Children vs. own children. I am his mother, he is my child. Legally. There is no differentiation on his birth certificate. It is as if I gave birth to him. This one is funny because my husband used to actually say “natural child” and that was so offensive to me. Because it insinuated that because I couldn’t get pregnant, it wasn’t “natural” to adopt. When in reality adoption has been around since biblical times. We laugh about it now, but I know there are many people who might think because I didn’t give birth to him, he isn’t my son. That’s silly, because I get up with him in the middle of the night 😜
God led us to you. We love Bethany for so many reasons but one of those is because they had us read several books about adoption beforehand. Those books totally changed my opinion of adoption in general but specifically, open adoption. After reading those, I am very careful about what I say and how I say it. I actually have practiced what I will say to Colin about his birth family and how I will say it. I don’t want him to ever feel minimized, abandoned, or fearful of his story.
Birthparent vs. real parent. This one is hard for me. I have struggled with this, especially with people from an older generation. I believe this is because adoption now is completely different and has a different connotation than it used to have. I have fielded more questions about Colin’s birth family than I can count and honestly, it isn’t my story to tell. It has shocked me how bold some people are in their questions! Bottom line- it’s nobody’s business but his. That being said, we are both his parents. She will ALWAYS be his birth mom and I will ALWAYS be his adoptive mom. If you can’t handle that, don’t adopt. Adoption isn’t easy guys. Especially if you have struggled to conceive. Our adoption specialist told us these exact words before adopting and I’m so thankful she did. Maybe you need to read them too.
Made an adoption plan. Another tough one for me. Whenever someone asks me why Colin’s birth mother “gave him up,” it feels like a punch in the gut. She didn’t give him away. She made a plan. She did the right thing. Most importantly, she chose LIFE for him. What a brave, sweet woman. I feel so protective of his birth mom and birth dad because they are so precious to me. They shared their most precious gift with us and trusted us to raise him. What a blessing. I didn’t understand the gravity of this statement until I had actually been through the trenches of adoption and it has become the most difficult for me to hear. Instead of getting angry or upset, I gently respond with “Why did she make an adoption plan? She made an adoption plan because…” and then stick a generic answer in there. Again, it’s no one’s business but hers, Colin’s birth dad, and Colin’s. And yes, I definitely asked “why did she give him/her up?” tons of times before I was an adoptive mom. Don’t feel bad if you have too!
Thank you for reading. The best advocate for adoption is the one who listens, learns, and shares. If you say the wrong thing, that’s ok! I have too. Just learn and spread awareness. Adoption is messy, difficult, beautiful, and redeemed. Do you have any questions about adoption? I would love to start a dialogue with you! I will continue posting on my instagram throughout adoption month and share more of our story. Thank you for being an adoption advocate with me! Xo