November is National Adoption Awareness Month and November 15th is World Adoption day.
This is the month where awareness is brought to the fact that there are so many orphans around the world, many families may be hesitant about adoption and it may still be something that many would never consider. Each adoption story is unique and different, just like any birth story and there is no right or wrong way to do things.
A – Adoption
Was adoption something we wanted from the beginning. If I’m honest? No, not really. It’s something we had spoken about and loved the idea of adoption but we always wanted our “own” children. Perhaps if we had our “own” children first, we might look at the possibility of adopting after that. As we all realise at some point in our lives, life doesn’t always go according to “plan” and having our “own” kids was harder than we thought and just didn’t happen. If I could go back and change things would? Absolutely not!!
D – Decision
The decision to pursue adoption was really not an easy one for us. We contacted more people and organisations than we can remember. We met with social workers who made adoption seem like it was something that was not achievable. We had our whole life exposed to strangers – our finances, details of our marriage and relationship, our home was scrutinised to assess whether it was a place in which a child could be placed. Were there time where we were in tears and wanted to throw in the towel? Oh yes!! Many times!!
O – Open vs Closed adoption
Many people have asked whether we have an open or closed adoption. We personally have a closed adoption in which we have no contact with our children’s birth parents. This is a personal decision and is not a “one-size-fits-all”. Many people choose to have an open adoption where they are in contact with the birth parents – whether that be directly or indirectly and they have an amazing relationship. It all depends on the people involved and the specifics of the adoption.
P – Patience
The word “patience” came to mind as this is something we had to practise on a daily basis when we were waiting for Maddi’s adoption to be finalised. The paperwork, court dates, potential delays in the system… all you want and dream of is that day when you are told that the adoption order has been granted and no one can take your child away from you.
T – Tell
Many people ask us whether we will talk to Maddi (and our newest addition coming SOON), about them being adopted and the answer is a resounding YES! Besides the fact that they will realise one day that we don’t look the same, it is important to be open and honest with them about where they came from, their heritage and how much they were wanted. Obviously what is told at certain times is something that would be age appropriate. The earlier they know they are adopted the better. There is no “lets sit down and tell you that you are adopted” but more just a knowing, and make it part of conversation as questions come up at different times through the years. Books are a great way to introduce the topic of adoption to young children and we have many books containing the theme of adoption and read these to Maddi regularly.
I – Important
I always want my children to know how important they are to us and our family. There is a strong theme of “rejection” that is often associated with adoption but I see adoption in a very different light. Parent who adopt are very intentional about their decision to adopt. They make a decision to have their lives turned upside down and have someone else deem them ‘fit’ to be parents. In actual fact, children who are adopted are more than wanted, and I want my children to know that above everything!
O – Opinions
I know that many people have opinions on adoption and what the “best” thing to do is, but just as parents who have their biological kids don’t have it right all the time, neither do parents who have adopted. Besides navigating our way around just being a parent, we have the additional aspect of the adoption that comes into play. This might be more evident when our children become teenagers and try to discover who they are and who they identify with. We all need support and encouragement regardless. It definitely takes a village to raise a child.
N – Not change a single thing
Would I want to go back and change things? I would go back and change the heartache and devastation we felt with each baby that we lost. But I would absolutely not change the lessons I learnt and the person I became because of it. If I hadn’t got to a point where I was ready to look at other ways to be a parent, I would not have the most precious little girl and (soon-to-be son). I can’t imagine life without her and I never want to take being her mom for granted.