I am not mathematically inclined. Math was my worst subject in school and caused many nights full of frustration and tears. Once, at the end of a particularly stressful college math class, I was absolutely thrilled that I had received a C- grade, because that meant I had actually passed the class and didn’t have to retake it. I will even admit that I chose my college major because it was the subject that required the least amount of math and science. But to lay the foundation of this article, I am going to go way outside of my comfort zone, and take a moment to talk about some geometric principles specifically related to triangles.

Picture a triangle. From the time we are preschool children we are taught that a triangle has three sides. Each side of a triangle is leaning upon the other two sides. Without one side of the triangle the other two sides would collapse. They hold each other up. But upon reading a little more into the mechanics of a triangle, what actually holds the triangle in place is its “centroid.” The centroid of a triangle is its center of gravity. It “lies at a common point where the medians of geometric figures intersect each other.” That’s a lot of scientific lingo to say that what holds a triangle together is a common central point.

Now let’s relate that to adoption. In adoption, there are three main members. Those three members are referred to as the Adoption Triad (or triangle.) They are the adoptee, the birth parents, and the adoptive parents. Just as a triangle cannot stand without the support of the other two sides, a healthy adoption cannot take place without each member of the triad supporting one another. Each side of the triad is essential, and if the common central point is respect, empathy, and love, a strong bond can form between all three parties. However, adoption is not always wonderful. There are many emotions at play from three sides, and as we get caught up in our own feelings, it can be easy to forget that there are two other perspectives taking place. We can lose sight of our centroid and things can start to fall apart.

So what can we do to promote a healthy adoption triad?

  • Focus on empathy. When you are feeling frustrated with a situation, take a minute to put yourself in the shoes of the other two members of the triad. If you were in their position, how would you feel? What would motivate you to act certain ways? What would you expect from the other members of the triad?
  • Look inward. It is easy to point fingers, but harder to self-check. Are your actions (or inactions) contributing to the problem? What can you do to change your attitude?
  • Communicate. Just like any relationship, communication is key. Be honest about your feelings and your needs and then take the time to listen to other perspectives.
  • Choose Love. Remember the common bond that brought you together. Be willing to forgive. Let others have the benefit of the doubt. You can’t ever go wrong when you choose to let go and love.
  • Lend your support. There may be times when one member of the triad needs extra support, and during those times, it is important to be there. Let go of yourself and focus on holding them up for a while. Things will stabilize again and you’ll be a stronger triad because of it.

Over all, it is important to remember that all parts of the adoption triad are important, and as you stay focused on what brought you together, rough patches will smooth themselves out.