A two sentence paragraph totally changed the way I am looking at potential openness in our adoption. I was reading the book “The Adoption Decision: 15 things you want to know before adopting” by Laura Christianson (Wonderful book by the way). She was citing another adoption book by Betsy Keefer and Jayne Schooler. The sentences were these
“In the same manner that parents do not stop loving one child when another one enters the family, children have the capacity to love more than one set of parents. They do not have to stop having feelings about their birth family just because they are part of an adoptive family”
Wow! What a promise these sentences hold, both in my past and in my future. If you remember earlier I spoke about my husband’s son who has been in my life since before he was 3. If I had read these sentences back then, what a different outlook I would have had. Instead of feeling like I was competing with his biological mom, I could have embraced his ability to love both. I recognize now that it was my own doubts and insecurities about this new world of parenting which added to these feelings. It wasn’t until my husband and I attended our adoption training that I really processed our current relationship with our oldest son's birth mother (my husband’s ex-wife) and her husband. When we first started considering how “open” [how much contact we would agree to with the birthparent(s)] we preferred our domestic adoption to be I admit I had great concern. I felt I would be open to providing photos and updates on a set basis, but anything beyond that made me uncomfortable. While sitting at that training, though, God began to stretch my heart and started to open it up to the possibilities. He showed me how far we had come in our relationship with my husband’s ex-wife. Over a time frame of 9 years, we have come from brief, terse conversations which were rarely positive to sharing the love of our precious son. She and her husband are such a part of our extended family, it is truly amazing! From birthday parties with both extended families to cheering at football games while he plays in the band, to joint parent/teacher conferences the way we working together to raise him is going well. We even call them to babysit for our two if we are in a bind. Our two biological children know them and look forward to seeing them, taking pictures with them and playing with them. They know their brother has two mommies and two daddies and they have one mommy and one daddy. When they ask why, I just explain that families are made all different ways and what God chose for them is different than their brother. In this way, I feel so blessed to have this history and to have our children already exposed to the different ways families are created. So at this training God reminded me of how far we had come in that relationship and how closed off I was being with consideration to a potential birthparents feelings and wishes.
So is the idea of having a birthday party with an adopted child and his/her birthparents and extended family still out of my comfort zone? Sure. Am I more willing now, to have my boundaries stretched and to follow His plan for this adoption? Absolutely, because He has shown me what can be accomplished when you love a child! And the sentences above have released me from the feeling that I will have to compete for a child’s love, imparting instead His wisdom that a child is capable of loving more than one set of parents just as we are capable of loving more than one child! And with joy, she and her husband’s photos will be proudly shown in our family’s profile book.