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Friday, April 20, 2012

For the record...

I'm just gonna say it.

I am a mother.
I am a mother to 7 children, 3 of whom happen to come to our family through adoption, but first and foremost I am just a mother.

Papa is a father.
Papa is also a father to biological and adopted children, but first and foremost he is just a father.
Papa also happens to be an adult adoptee.  (And sometimes I can even coax him in to posting on our blog.)  For this reason, (and because they don't have their voice yet) I let Papa speak for Tess, Jude, and Mimi often.   I ask him often-
Should I say this?  
Can I put that out there?  
Would you care if it were you?  
Can I say this better?
And because of his personal adoption experience, his answers, suggestions, guidelines are always the final say to what I include in this blog regarding anything related to their adoptions.

Tess, Jude, and Mimi are children.  Not my adopted children.  Just my children.  My son and daughters.
Children that just happen to be adopted.
I have no desire to make them poster children for any cause.

Adoption doesn't define any of us.  It's one of many components that make us who we are.

Adoption is born out of loss.  Realizing and accepting this loss is a critical component in understanding what adoption is all about and thus how we proceed with raising our children.  In my ideal world there would be no adoption because there would be no loss.
But in this imperfect world, there are children that need families.  I am happy to grow the family I've always wanted in this unconventional way.
I believe that adoption programs need to be continually evaluated and improved.  I believe that we adopted our children from an imperfect system that has flaws, a system that needs to be evaluated and improved.

All of this is complicated.
The adoption triad (the birth/first family, the child, and the family that adopts the child) is a complicated relationship full of risk, loss, unknowns, pain, hope, growth, faith, and so much more.
In our family, we are blessed to have adult voices to 2 of the sides of the triad, the adoptee and the adopter.  Hopefully this will help us more fully understand and appreciate this complicated relationship.
But we do not know first hand the voice of the third person in the triad, our children's first family and birth mothers.  For this, we must keep our hearts and thoughts open, and I thank those women who speak of it openly.  I think of there first families often.  I can not pretend to know their circumstances or thoughts about what brought them into this triad.  But I do pray for them.

There... I said it.


  1. Blessed indeed and well said. I have sought out several adult mentees to help with my perspective for my adopted children as they navigate the growing up years through the loss...

  2. Complicated indeed. Hang with me for a sec.

    I was adopted at 3 months. My brother was also adopted. As was my father. My parents went on to have a biological daughter. Adoption was NEVER discussed in our home. I grew up thinking it was somehow shameful. I had one grandmother who would introduce me as J & B's ADOPTED daughter. Made me feel as though it was important for this person to know I wasn't their "real" kid.

    I left home and went to college. Never returned to their home. Searched and found my birthmother and birthfather. I have an ongoing relationship with birthmother and two half-brothers. Birthfather wouldn't acknowledge me and he died a few years later.

    My husband is also adopted, as were all his siblings.

    Even though we share this life event with our daughter, I still feel woefully unprepared to help her deal with the circumstances regarding "why" she was abandoned and was adopted by caucasions and moved an ocean away. My mother tries to tell me that "she will be so grateful that she won't even care"...I almost puked. Then again, look what she did to me.

    I struggle with this a lot. My pip will be 10 tomorrow and we try to talk to her about her adoption but she doesn't want instead we tell her stories about when she was a baby and she loves hearing those. I supposed she'll let us know when she's ready.

  3. Tracee-
    Thank you. Really. Thank you for sharing.
    There is a fine line that we walk as adoptive mamas between discussing it and not making it a defining moment. Yes, my children and husband are adoptees. But it's not all of who they are. It's just one component of many that shapes them.
    I too feel unprepared to deal with the hard questions as they come up. Maybe that's just inherent in the job. I also feel totally unprepared to deal with many of the "teen" issues that my older kiddos are experiencing.
    Keep up the hard work of walking the line.

  4. Beautifully said. I don't think everyone always stops to think of the loss and heartache that adoption comes with. Many times it's just "Yeah! You're saving a baby's life!" When, clearly, that really isn't all of it-at all. Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it certainly comes with a cost.

  5. I appreciate and respect your honesty. It is needed. Thanks


  6. Beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  7. Best post ever on ADOPTION!! Thank for sharing. We are broaching the subject of adoption with our 5yr old and she brings out the very difficult questions. I will NEVER lie to her or hide facts about her birth parents. NEVER. She has contact with him and the extended family regularly.

  8. It seems that my blog has been linked to a bit of a "controversial" issue out there. I really wanted to post this for the sake of the "issue" that is floating around.

  9. Very well said, my friend. Adoption is a complicated paradox full of tragic loss and joy. I know that each side has a story, and even though we may not always agree with each other, I do think it is important to listen to each other. Adoptipn is something I struggle with constantly....It's.just.hard all around.

  10. Amen sister. Amen.

    I can't love this enough.

  11. Hi Nancy, I've read your blog for some time now. What a terrific job you and your husband are doing--lucky kids! I have 3 young adults. But what I wanted to add to this conversation is that I grew up in a family of 5 bio kids, but little love. I'm 55 years old and I've been in therapy for almost 7 yrs trying to understand a mother who could only see herself. I parented her. Fortunately my own child (within) insisted that I parent very differently. But now I'm working hard to learn to love myself. I hope this adds another perspective to the adoption issue. Your kids are loved, freely, deeply, warmly, for who they are. In the end, that's what matters. And honesty is important too. Keep up the wonderful job you and your husband are doing and give yourself the praise you deserve for doing a terrific job of parenting--the hardest job in the world!

  12. I agree one hundred percent! Grace is my child. My own and she is loved just as much as her two siblings that I gave birth to. It is often a paradox. You are so careful that you don't use lingo such as adopted daughter, etc. you do have to make sure your child knows their story and has pride in their background and confidence in their place in your family. It is almost like being trapped in two worlds that sometimes don't jive together. Parents make mistakes but at the end of the day, if my daughter knows that she can ask me any questions, that I love her with all my heart and soul, and that she was a most desired child then I'm satisfied.


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