From Interesting to Inspiring: This Is OUR Adoption Story

And on the last day of November—National Adoption Month—I decided to write about adoption.

It’s not that I haven’t written about it this month. I’ve put pen to paper a number of times to journal experiences and feelings surrounding adoption and our family unit. But I come here and the words disappear. In fact, I wrote a bunch of words after that previous sentence…

…and I deleted them. Let’s start again.

I’ve allowed others who aren’t participants in our adoption story to dictate how I share my experiences, feelings, fears, joys, and all the in between about adoption. I’ve censored, deleted, and otherwise silenced myself. Some people didn’t want to hear about grief and loss or anything hard. Others didn’t want us to share joys.

Truthful sharing is not the enemy of adoption.

Silence is.

I’ve had to live our adoption in a much more public way this year. I’ve told our story more times with my mouth, as opposed to just writing it, more times this year than I have in all the previous years. I’ve stood in front of a room. I’ve stood on a stage—twice—and told my story. Our story. The story that started and continues and changes us regularly. The story we didn’t know would be like this, would affect people—like our children not yet born or considered—in so many ways, both wonderful and awful.

As all of our children continue to grow, I’ve also learned what parts of the story are mine to tell and which parts belong to others. That’s part of the silence on the topic here, on the blog, as of late. But not all of it.

It comes from comments like one my daughter’s mom received lately when she told another woman she is in business with her daughter’s birth mom (being me).

“That’s interesting.”
“Isn’t it great?”
“I would never do that. My kids are adopted, too, but they’ll never know their birth mothers. I mean, they’re Asian anyway.”

First: It is great. We’re kind of awesome. And it is interesting. We’re unique. We’ve always been unique in this sphere.

Second: Okay, lady. That’s fine. Your story doesn’t have to be our story. But there’s no need to be rude, no need to write off, no need to basically tell us that we’re doing it wrong.

Third: I’m totally over comments like this. Which is why I’m writing this on the last day of National Adoption Month. So here it goes.

Our adoption story is our own.

It doesn’t have to look like yours. Yours doesn’t have to look like ours. We don’t have to be unkind to each other on the in between.

I’m over deleting words in my own space. I’m over not sharing because those in certain camps won’t like it or me or might even launch a campaign of hate against me. I’m over caring whether we make you feel uncomfortable, because I’m not here for your comfort. I’m here to raise children who make this world a better place. If you want to feel comfortable, if you don’t want to think about the reforms that adoption desperately needs, if you don’t want to think about race and adoption, if you don’t want to think about mental health and the way it affects adoption, if you don’t want to think about more than shiny Gotcha Day photos, I’m not here for you.

I can’t control strangers on the Internet. Or ones I meet when I share our story in public. I can control my space, my reaction, who I let in my life, in my childrens’ lives.

I say all this in-your-face, I don’t have to take your crap soliloquy to end with this story.

After my daughter’s mom and I stood on a stage earlier this month and shared our story, no less than a dozen people came up to us throughout the day and used the same statement: “Your story is so inspiring.”

We didn’t choose this path and create this family unit to be inspiring. We don’t wake up in the morning and think, “How can I inspire others today?” Mostly because we’re tired in the morning. We just live our lives. Out loud nowadays, together more than we ever have been, and let me tell you, it feels good.

It feels right.

There’s a lot of hard stuff going on behind the scenes that outsiders to our story don’t need to know. But the work we’re doing together as a family unit feels right. Focusing on our issues instead of what others think about our issues feels right. And if that ends up inspiring others, we’ll take it. And if it ends up offending others, well, there’s the door. I’m not concerned. Because we also don’t wake up and think, “How can I offend others today?”

If we’ve inspired you to think differently about adoption in some way, great. If we haven’t, that’s okay. We’re still gonna do our thing.

And I’m finally gonna write it.

Interesting to Inspiring

Nine.

LittleBrother,

You’ve been nine for five days and I’m just sitting down to write your birthday letter. As I’m sure you know, when your birthday falls on Thanksgiving, things get a little crazy. Don’t worry. I had to share my 30th birthday with Jesus, so I feel your pain.

You have made me laugh every single day of this year. You do or say something or give me a look that just cracks me up. I read an article about one of those pseudo-science studies earlier this year stating the youngest child is the funniest in the family. In ours, it’s true. Don’t tell your brother. Or do. It will bother him. Thank you for making us laugh on all days, but especially the hard ones.

You’re busy learning some hard lessons right now about how what we say and how we say it affects others. I want you to know it’s okay. It’s okay to learn those lessons now, as a newly minted nine year old. I witnessed many adults this year who didn’t care one lick about tone or word choice or anyone else. I also witnessed how the words of angry adults affected you. I’m sorry you saw the worst of our society, but I hope I did my best to use it as a teaching moment.

When a dear friend of mine met you in your own space this year, she said, “Oh, he has a giant heart.” You do. That’s why it bothers you so much that you sometimes choose words or a tone that negatively affect others; sometimes you forget to choose kindness and it hurts you to your core. Please don’t forget that hurt, and please keep loving with all of your soul.

There’s one more thing you did every single day this year, and it really made a difference in my life. You said, “I love you, mommy.” You’ve said it every day for so very long. Unprompted. In the car. Waiting in lines. In front of friends. In front of strangers. In passing. While cuddling. At bedtime. First thing in the morning. All day. Every single day. I love you, too.

I hope this next year brings you joy, because I know it will bring you love.

Love,
Mommy

Nine.