This might be the weirdest baby announcement ever.
Our family grew by one this week (and no, I don’t mean chickens, fish, or dogs). We became parents to the sweetest little baby with the longest eye lashes and blue eyes and a sassy left hand.
We were planning on adopting again in 2016, but this, this, was very unexpected and moved very quickly. Our heads are spinning.
But, here we are.
You might be wondering how we’re feeling, aside from the fact that we went from “Let’s have another kid in late 2016” to “Let’s have a 4-month-old infant in our care in three weeks”.
I promised to be transparent in our adoption process. So here it is.
We’re exhausted, of course. The baby is in the NICU at a local hospital so we’re having to split our time and coordinate to make sure that our eldest’s life isn’t completely turned upside down. This adoption has been harder emotionally, because I’m beginning to get a tiny understanding of what adoption is and the depth and complexity of feelings involved.
Let me explain.
So often, adoption is presented from an adoptive standpoint parent.
“Adoption rocks! Adoption is happy! Look at these beautiful kids that we have. We have a baby! Whoo hoo!”
So often, complex truths about adoption are ignored. If you listen to the voices of adoptees, some are happy they were adopted, some are really troubled by their adoption, many are both at different times. Feelings are complex and ever-changing. Why we expect adoptees to only be happy about a likely traumatic part of their lives is crazy.
So often, first families are ignored, as if the children arrived on Earth via stork. It was impossible for me to ignore that fact with our newest adoption, as we met with the first parents several times before we even met the baby. We were invested in making sure that they had all the support they needed to make a decision, whatever the outcome. They are (and will be) a huge part of his life. I cannot forget about them. We are communicating daily right now about the health and well-being of this baby. This adoption was a package deal. I’ve come to realize that our oldest’s adoption was a package deal, as well, although it looks a little different.
My children did not miraculously appear out of thin air and for me to ignore that truth would be doing them (and their first families) a grave disservice.
The world asks adoptees to be thankful and first parents to be selfless. It makes adoptive parents into saviors (I can promise you that we’re not. Ask my son. Please.) It silences “bad” feelings and only encourages “good” ones. Those are all big burdens to bear.
But it happens over and over again.
There are so many adoptee and first parent (birthparent) blogs that you can read to understand how complex adoption can be. (Here’s a list of blogs that I follow.) Please, listen to those voices. For good reasons, they have BIG feelings. It’s not always easy to hear them, but we must, if we are to love the way that we should.
That’s how I’m feeling currently. Of course, the new baby is adorable. Of course, we’re excited about this new turn of events. But, we’re not only those things. Adoption is complicated. (Are you sensing a theme?)
Maybe you’re thinking, “Geez, Beth, thanks for harshing my mellow. I was all ready to push my fists into my eye sockets and sing a celebratory song about your new baby. Now, I just feel…ugh.”
I understand. I’ve harshed your mellow. Here’s what I have to say to you.
Thanks for letting your mellow be harshed. It means that you’re listening. It means that you can be a better friend and advocate to our family, specifically my children. Adoption is not rainbow farts and unicorn sneezes. It is complex, complicated, and ever-changing. If your mellow is harshed, you’re understanding a tiny bit of what my children and my sons’ mothers and fathers have gone through and will continue to feel throughout their lifetimes. You’re listening with your whole heart.
We love you guys. Thank you for journeying with us.