My Hope for My Adoptive Son
I place my son in the car and go for a little drive. Typically the music is coming from the speakers in the car, and he and I are singing along. Today we are rapping to one of our favorite Christian rappers: Andy Mineo. I notice that once we get closer to our destination, my son begins to cheer. “The PLAYGROUND,” he shouts. I smile because I know that he has wanted to go to the bigger playground for the past couple of weeks and today was the special day. I stop the car and we get out of the car. “Bye, Mommy, he yells. He runs off, and as usual, I place my earbuds in my ears, attach them to my phone, and start listening to a podcast to begin a walk. I look up and see my son waving at me and smiling. I wave and smile back and instantly I am inspired. I take out my earbuds and decide to be present with him at the playground. While on the playground, in these precious moments of engaging with him and watching him slide, climb, and swing, I thought of the first day I found out about him. On that day, I was filled with many hopes and dreams for him. After having this beautiful memory on the playground, I came home and wrote them down. My hope and dream is that my precious son can navigate his adoption journey.
1. Remember that we are your forever family
“What do you want to do today on the playground?” I said. “I want to swing,” he says. We walk to the swing, and he gets on. “Push me, mommy, and watch me swing,” he says. I immediately do what he says with the promise that he will pump his legs on the swing himself. “ONE TWO THREE,” we yell, and then I give him one big push. He immediately begins to laugh and challenge himself to go higher. I am captivated by joy in the challenge of making himself go higher. After the swing starts to slow down, my son looks at me and says, “AGAIN!” As I smile, I give him a giant but gentle push. He squeals and laughs. “Remember to pump your legs to get swinging,” I yell. “Don’t go far. Stay here, he says in between laughter.” I tell him I”m not going anywhere.
Throughout his adoption journey, I want him to know that we are his forever family. Our joy is to see him reach his dreams and go higher and higher into his God-given destiny. He can always count on us when he feels he is slowing down and not moving as much. We are here to love and encourage him. We will always be here to push and cheer him on. Just as my son told me on the swings to not go far, I want him to remember that if he reaches out to us, we will stay by his side as his advocates and cheerleaders no matter what.
2. Be a bridge in the adoption community
I follow my son on the playground and we are in front of a seven-foot rock wall that leads to this yellow spiral tubal slide. I see him waiting by the rock-climbing wall. He always struggled with this, but over time became confident with climbing. A little girl was with her grandmother and she was trying to climb the rock wall, too. There was a point where she was stuck and began to shake a bit. He observed the small child climb the wall and noticed that she was climbing slowly. “You can do it,” my son yelled to her. Her mother and I turned to her and started to cheer for her as well. Eventually, she got to the top, and the three of us cheered for her. She smiled and had a look of pride. “I did it,” she yelled.
Just like he cheered and advocated for the little girl on the playground, we want him to advocate for adoptees in the adoption community. We want him to feel open to sharing his adoption journey when he is ready. We hope that his story will inspire others to either want to be adoptive parents, encourage expectant parents considering adoption in their tough decision, or help adoptees discover their identity.
3. Love all of yourself
“Mommy, I am climbing like SPIDERMAN,” he yells as he runs to the spider web ropes course. The spider web ropes course allows children to figure out how to climb through the ropes to get to the top of the apparatus. It is something that my son has a love-hate relationship with. He loves it because he loves the challenge of climbing through different ropes like Spiderman. He hates it because it is quite challenging to get to the top. Today, it seems as though he is up for the challenge. He wants to be Spiderman. He starts to climb and notices two other kids on the spider web. One is sitting on the top, and the other is climbing slowly. While my son is not quite a slow climber, he is not quite the child who is brave enough to sit on the top. Somehow, he sees the two children and is confused about which one to model. “Don’t worry about the other kids; just climb up to the top like Spiderman and come down to save the day,” I say. He climbs up to the top, and then he comes down and shares with me, “Spiderman is ready to save the day!”
Finally, our son will create his path forward. We want him to use his creative mind and thought process to discover life’s challenges. While other people will chart their course, just as the one child sits on top of the spiderweb and the other child climbs slowly, he will forge his path and be the best person for society.
In writing my hopes for my son, I wish that every adoptive or non-adoptive parent will take the time to be present with their children during various activities and write their hopes for their child. I know that this will be a new practice for me each time my son and I are on the playground.