I’m an open book when it comes to sharing the story of our losses. I’m always willing to talk about how we adopted and then went on to successfully carry two pregnancies to term. Sharing these stories are my way of still continuing to process what has happened, and honoring our children who aren’t with us. It’s a reminder of our perseverance. And it is my way to help others in similar situations carry on, and maybe even find hope.
I often have friends and family reach out to see if they can connect me with someone who has just gone through a loss, or someone who is considering adoption. I’m honored to do so, and try to be as transparent as possible in detailing our experiences. I also talk with friends and family members of couples who have lost their babies, and share insights in what helped, and didn’t help us along the way. I talk about the lowest of lows and highest of highs.
Where I draw the line though, is when people start asking specific questions about C’s adoption and his birth parents:
- Where are his “real” parents?
- Where did you get him?
- Why didn’t they “want” him?
- How old are they?
- Are they together?
- Are there other children?
- Were they on drugs/alcohol?
- Do you see them?
It’s as if because a child is adopted, there is no privacy. You’d never ask someone who had a biological child if they were drunk when they got pregnant, or if that child was an accident.
Not My Story to Tell
There’s much to C’s story and much of that we won’t share because it is C’s story—not ours. Aaron and I are open in talking about why we chose adoption, the adoption process and parenting. We dispel the stereotypes that all birthmothers are drug-addicted, young, ignorant girls who “give up” their children. In spite of perceptions, adoption is not a Lifetime movie.
Aaron and I had to go through 10 hours of adoption classes to get our foster/adoption license. Our thoughts and beliefs evolved during that time as we gained a better understanding of adoption, and each part of the adoption triad (birth family/adoptee/adoptive parents). We don’t have all of the answers, and we’ll never be done learning. We’ve come to see and understand that a big part of adoption is about educating. Educating ourselves. Educating C, and J and E. And educating our family and friends, teachers, doctors and more.
Since the moment we met him on the day he was born, we’ve talked openly with C about his adoption. It was important to us that right from the beginning, he knew he was adopted. This was not to make him feel different, rather we didn’t want it to be a surprise later in life. We did it to make sure he knows who he is, and where he came from. And perhaps most of all, we wanted to, and still want to reinforce that he has two families who love him: his birth family and our family. Of course he didn’t understand in those early days, which was fine because we didn’t know how to tell the story. But this gave us the opportunity to learn how to best share with him, and over time, gives C the opportunity to start to gain an understanding of it all.
As time goes on, there are going to be more questions. Tough questions. It is our job as parents to answer as many of those questions as we can, while empowering him to look for answers if he so chooses. From there he’ll be able to decide if, and what of his story he wants to share, or not. So next time your curiosity gets the best of you remember: each of us has our stories, and it is up to us—and only us—if we want those stories known.