By: Meika Rouda
Recently I have had several people tell me, “Oh my friend is adopting and she really wants to talk to someone about their experience, would you talk to her?” I am always happy to talk about adoption; it is frankly one of my favorite topics. But I know my view is very biased. When we adopted our children, my husband and I had two easy adoptions, both closed, with little drama. Also, I am very close to my adoptive parents, and have never been “reunited” with my birth parents (something I have no intention of doing in the near future). So in my world, adoption is a closed situation; we don’t have direct contact with our kids’ birthparents, but we can contact them, and they us, through our lawyer. We have a buffer, which has worked very well for us, even though the current thought is that open adoption helps kids adjust better.
In my world adoption is a big win-win –good for the birthparents, great for the adoptive parents and fantastic for the adopted kid. But I know this is not the case for many people. I have friends who are adopted who have found their birthparents and it was the first time they felt they really belonged. I know people who have had difficulty adopting children, either because of the cost or the process or because they weren’t quite prepared to give up their dream of a biological child. If adoption comes into your life it can be difficult and perhaps painful but it can and usually is one of the most joyful and meaningful experiences of one’s life. I am happy and proud to be adopted; I have always felt overly loved and CHOSEN. In the biological world it is entitlement; one created this child. In adoption it is bigger, more cosmic, more destined, a clear choice by the adoptive parents (and often a timely process that really makes a person think about becoming a parent and whether it is the right choice). My husband and I spent many hours talking about parenting, how we wanted to raise our children, how we would deal with discipline, with schools, with rebellious teenage years, far more than any of my friends who conceived naturally. I am grateful we had those conversations because there were very few surprises in the parenting department once we did adopt our son, and then our daughter. I already knew he didn’t believe in punishing a child by yelling and that time outs aren’t necessarily productive; he does believe in chores and helping around the house, and most importantly, he believes in telling our children that we love them everyday (and telling each other too, in front of our children).
So I find myself an unexpected advocate for adoption because families are created, one way or another, and it’s amazing the capacity one has to love another person, even if that person isn’t biologically related.
I know adoption is not for everyone, but should you be considering it, and should you be bold enough to take that leap of faith into the destiny pool, I know you will find the water warm and gentle and will wonder what took you so long to jump in.
[Photo Credit: Flickr member Jmsmytaste]