I never intend to hurt anyone with reality checks. Heck, I need them too and they often come from my kids. However, the reality is, that adoption is often over-run with emotions. They run the gamut from manic highs to depressing lows and everything in between.
When a new potential adoptive parent shares the news that they are planning on growing their family thru adoption, they are naturally wrapped up in the natural thoughts of a loving, gorgeous child who is full of loving hugs and gratitude for their new family. Sadly, that is just a dream. Reality is that an older child, one who is walking and talking, has experienced loss, trauma and neglect in some form. No child added to a family should be added with the belief from the adoptive parents that the child will be grateful or appreciative. Adoption should always be motivated by selfish thoughts of the part of the parents: We want another child to love......regardless of whether or not the child reciprocates love.
When our little boys came home from Haiti, we very clearly told them that we loved them, but we did not expect them to love us. What we did expect was respect and kindness. We are lucky. Our little boys are firmly attached and love us. I attribute part of that success to the fact that Richnigthder's birth mom and dad told him at our goodbye meeting in Haiti, "It's ok to go with them and love them." That was a humongously crucial piece that allowed Richnightder to close one door and walk thru the next one. It also helped him not feel a sense of betrayal by loving us AND his birth parents.
In an idealistic world I would love to share my thoughts on adoption and not have people get defensive nor think I am over reacting and being a total butt head and raining on their parade. Remember, we've marched in that parade and heard the words that burst our bubbles and still marched on. For us, we escaped the dreaded life-altering effects of Rad-a-lad-a-ding-dong behavior (thanks Corey) but we had the unexpected realization that one of our kids suffered some pretty profound prenatal exposures. We deal with it, but there are days when his issues envelop the entire family and it becomes 'his' show.
I'm not nearly as articulate as my friends are: Friends who I have met in the trenches of parenting children not born of our bodies. One's whom we love but that present challenges relating to their previous lives. My intent remains to not hurt anyone's feelings or deter them from their desires, but to share and educate real life experiences that cannot be learned from any book.
Adopting any child involves loss and heartache. We know Madison's birthmom suffered tremendous heartache knowing that her angel would ride home from the hospital with us and she would leave without her. How odd for our newborn daughter to be placed in my arms at the moment of birth and be carried by me....which to her was a completely new voice. Did Madison suffer trauma? No, not really. We are blessed to have an open adoption with Angela where from the first days of life, Angela would come to our house and have a cup of coffee with me while I tried to keep my eyes open from lack of sleep. For both of them, the transition was a little easier due to openness. But our adoption story with Angela and Madison is not typical. We...our entire family benefits from having Angela in it. I only wish I could offer Thomas the same beautiful birth story that Angela and Madison share. For so many kids, trauma begins to happen well before their first breath out of the womb.
I'm linking to an Orlando Soul Sister's blog. Her words regarding adoption are eloquent and written with truth, emotion and gut-check moments. Here's the link...enjoy....http://waldenbunch.blogspot.com/2011/04/to-prospective-fosteradopt-parents.html