Dear prospective adoptive parents,
How exciting, daunting, joyful, scary, and overwhelming this journey is. I am happy that you have chosen to expand your family through adoption. As an adoptee, there are a few things I would like you to know.
Adoption is always born of loss.
This can be a hard reality for all members of the adoption triad to accept. In order for a family to adopt a baby, another family has to first lose a member of their family. Whether this is by choice or not, this is the difficult reality of every adoption story’s start.
Babies are not a blank slate.
Every baby’s biological family is part of that baby’s story. A biological family introduces a baby into the world before the adoption process even begins. This baby comes to you with his or her biologoical family’s medical history, facial features, personality traits, and so much more. Just like a baby born from you would gain these things from your family, they will also gain different traits from you. Nurture and nature are both equally as important.
Adoption should always be an open conversation.
I believe that there should never be a point at which an adopted child finds out they are adopted. They should grow up knowing. There is a fine balance between separating them out and making them feel different and keeping it a secret.
My parents made the choice to keep my adoption from me until I was 9 years old (I found out on my own). My entire community knew a very fundamental fact about me that I did not know. They all made a choice to lie to me during very formative years. As you can imagine, this created another layer of trauma that lead to trust issues.
Please have respect for your children who are adopted by allowing them to know their beginnings. Not every adoption allows for open contact with the biological family, but every adoption allows for you to be open with your child in some way. Make the topic of adoption open, age-appropriate, and approachable for your child.
Raising an adoptee can be different thing than raising a child you gave birth to.
Children who were adopted need love, attention, care, and nurture just as your biological child would. But, they also need honesty from you about their beginnings. They should never be afraid to ask about where they came from. You can always set aside your feelings and insecurities for your child’s emotional well-being.
I hope this adoption journey helps your family grow. I hope you are able to recognize the pain of adoption as your embrace the joy. I hope you can open your hearts to other adoptee stories and learn from their experiences. There are so many amazing resources for all members of the adoption triad. Seek them out and learn from others who have gone before you. God bless you on your adoption journey!
An adoptee, all grown-up