Sarah Baker | May 30, 2013 | 01:36 PM
Once your adopted child is home with you, the adoption doesn’t stop there. While your heart may love the child as if he is your own, the fact remains, that biologically he is not. As mothers we want to protect them. So when people ask me if I plan to tell Ezra that he is adopted, the answer is, “I already tell him”. Ok, so he’s not even 5 months old, but it’s never too early to start building his identity. An important part of who he is is that he is adopted and that he has more than one family that loves him.
Every family is different, but one thing we cannot do is be afraid to discuss with him where he came from and how he came to us. I would never want him to think his birth parents didn’t love him and that they “gave him away”. Can you imagine the pain that would cause a person going through life, feeling unwanted by someone so important? Obviously they love him; they chose life when the easy way “out” is readily available abortion. The worst thing I could do for myself would be to try to hide his story from him. He would resent me in the future. Kids have enough reasons to “hate” their parents as they get into their teens, I am not going to fuel that fire.
Not all adoptions are as open as mine, with having an ongoing relationship with the birth parents. But, if you are considering adoption, I really do encourage you to try to have an open adoption. Ezra’s birth mother initially wanted a closed adoption. We would know who she was, but she wasn’t sure she wanted contact after placement. She thought it would hurt too much. I told her how important I thought it was for both her and for him to remain in contact. I am glad she changed her mind. Information you can provide your child about his biological family will help him understand who he is and feel more confident in life. Parenting is hard enough when the child is biologically yours, but add adoption to the mix and you have a whole new set of things to think about. This is why continuing to learn about adoption is something I take very seriously. There will be questions I don’t think of. Problems I never heard about. Emotions I don’t know how to handle.
There are local support groups I have joined. I can connect with other adoptive families and hear what they are going through and share anything I may have going on. There are thousands of online resources with training, tutorials, guides, tips and social networking communities. There are books. There are counselors. Building a foundation of support is a good thing. It would be too easy to just forget that a child is adopted and keep on trucking along. But, in that child’s mind, he knows, he will fantasize about life with his birth family, he will have questions. Creating a Life Book for your child will be something he will cherish. It is a story about his life, not your adoption of him.
So, don’t be afraid. Do your research and keep learning. I think it’s much easier to address things if you see them coming than if you aren’t prepared.