November is National Adoption Month. This particular November has been one of the hardest months mentally and emotionally for me in a very long time. Mom, I’m fine. : ) But let me explain…
I’ve been following some new accounts on Instagram over the past few months that represent different sides of the adoption triad; adoptees – birthmoms - adoptive parents. I started following them in an attempt to make sure we do our current adoption ‘right’ and love our future birthmama well. I had a great example in my own adoptive parents but let’s be honest, adoption has come a long way in 31 years so I wanted to learn more. But this funny thing started happening as I listened to all the podcasts and read all the blogs and visited all the Instagram accounts. I started to really reflect on my own personal adoption. And to be honest, I still can’t put pen to paper to completely calm the hurricane in my head. Usually when I sit down to write it all flows out and I’m done in 20 minutes. Not this time.
My adoptive parents, (and I label them as adoptive only in this writing for clarification purposes) are my parents 150%. I have never felt anything less than theirs. I love them through and through. I never felt a burden to fulfill the role of “the child they couldn’t have”. They have loved me so well that there is no way they could have loved me any more if they had birthed me. I feel like I have to put that disclaimer in here because I don’t want anything I say to be misinterpreted that I feel anything differently towards them. They are my amazing parents. PERIOD.
But as I’ve gone through this past month, there have been thoughts that have been bouncing around my head that I honestly don’t know what to do with yet. I think often times adoption is viewed as this perfect little way to start a family or to give a child a forever home. Couple wants a baby, expectant mama picks them, baby comes home, happily ever after. The End. Especially in the church, adoption is often tied up in a pretty bow and life is good. After all, adoption is the gospel, right? ...that’s another post.
Did you know that in many states, original birth certificates are sealed? I personally would have to petition the court in North Dakota to request that the Department of Vital Records release MY OWN birth certificate. And whether or not the court grants the petition depends upon the judge and the reason for the request. Whether or not an adoptee can find out who is responsible for their very existence, lies solely in the hands of a judge and whether or not they feel the request is worthy enough!! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
I know who my birthmother is (no, I’ve never met her), but I don’t have a clue who my birthfather is. There is literally an entire family out there that I know nothing about aside from some brief medical information. Do I look like them? Do I have an aunt that loved volleyball or maybe a cousin who also likes musicals? Do I have an uncle who is a writer? Does my birthfather like to cook? Is he even alive? I know my birthmother went on to have 2 more children, girls. Do they know I exist? Do they know they have an older sister who has the same cheeks and eyes as them? If I were to contact them would it absolutely blow their world apart? I don’t know.
I’ve just recently started learning about the physical effects that separating an infant from their biological mother can have. It has been proven through clinical studies that an infant who is separated from their biological mother has higher than normal cortisol levels, and those increased levels can have some pretty profound effects on a developing brain. Which parts of my personality and how I act are “just me” and which parts are a direct result of my adoption? I don’t know.
I had a great childhood. I have a great life. I would have never identified as a person who has experienced any sort of significant trauma in her life. But as I’ve done more research and listened to all sides of the triad, ya’ll, adoption IS traumatic. It is one of the most unnatural things for a woman to give birth and for that child to not be raised by her. That’s just the truth. In a perfect world, adoption would not exist. #truth
Those thoughts don’t even scratch the surface of things I’ve been reading and learning and contemplating over the past month. I have learned though, that if there isn’t even a tiny part of you that feels “yuck” over adoption, then you truly don’t understand adoption. Adoption is messy. And hard. And beautiful. It will wreck you and bless you all in the same breath. The complexities of being an adoptee and also a hopeful adoptive parent are INTENSE and I still have a lot of ‘sorting out’ to do.
Hopefully as the hurricane in my brain settles I’ll be able to articulate some of the thoughts for you. In the meantime, head over to Instagram and check out some of the following accounts to learn more from the lesser-heard-from sides of the triad; birthmoms and adoptees.