Tuesday, June 07, 2005

On being a parent

In researching adoption and post-adoption parenting, we've done a lot of looking at websites, talking to people who've adopted (that we know personally and that we've only met over the internet), and reading of various books. We are also required to take an adoption "class" of sorts, that discusses a lot of the issues associated with adoptive parenting. It is true that parenting is parenting, but there are some additional things to consider with adopted children, including how you respond to people asking about the adoption. Many children like to be the ones to tell people (or not) that they are adopted. There was an interesting point in one of the books we have, talking about discussing adoption with children when they ask. The question usually comes up of "Why was I adopted?" Oftentimes, the parent will respond with something along the lines of "your birthparents couldn't take care of you and they loved you so much they gave you up for adoption". In and of itself, it seems like a harmless and valid answer, but the authors point out that this presents a serious problem for adoptive children. Children think very literally, and very simply. Thus, you can follow the child-like logic....my birthparents loved me so they gave me up for adoption...my adoptive parents love me too, so will they give me up for adoption? Interesting food for thought.

We had a discussion in our women's group the other night talking with a mother about the 2-year-old they recently adopted from China. We were discussing the fact that none of us recognize her as their "adopted daughter"--she is their "daughter who was adopted". Do you see the difference? She has always been their daughter. They just had to go someplace else to find her and bring her home. This is how I feel about our children. They are in my heart, and my thoughts. We haven't even seen them yet, but they are already part of our lives as we prepare for them to join us. I don't think I will ever think of our children as our "adopted children". They will always be simply our children, and we just had to go a little further to bring them home.


Pat the Bone said...

I'd never thought of the implications of telling a child that their birthparents loved them but gave them up anyway. That really is interesting. I have some food for thought concerning my cousin Nancy, who was adopted as a very young child and has now decided that none of us are related to her anymore.

Diane said...

If you guys want to talk to someone else, I know a family that adopted a daughter out here and had to go through many challanges with her including why she looked different, and later why there weren't any pictures of her mom pregnant with her and some other interesting things. She's big on throwing fits and saying "You're not my real mom" and things like that. Anyway, if you want someone else to talk to let me know and I'll give you their number.