I’ve had difficulty writing weighty and/or witty posts on this blog for months now (you could arguably say longer — ha!). If has finally occurred to me there is a reason for the struggle:
I’ve been actively not writing about something.
It’s a big thing that feels, now that I realize it’s there, like a large and hard-as-concrete dam that’s been holding back everything creative and curious in me.
I’m still not going to write about this emerging narrative. It’s overwhelming, it’s scary, it will be long-lasting, it’s hard, it’s sensitive, it’s not wholly mine, and for all these reasons I can’t process it in this space the way I sometimes do with other issues.
I will say this.
Parenting after you’ve adopted is flippin’ hard.
It’s just hard as children grow into increasingly sentient and emotional beings. You start out thinking you have some measure of control over things, but then you remember your job is to help your children become independent and able to function completely without you. And you see that a sense of control is largely a fallacy anyway — there are so so so so many variables and you influence only a portion of them.
The parenting journey — especially when overlaying it with an adoption component — can be messy, unpredictable, hairy, frustrating, sob-worthy, tear-your-hair-out-because-you-don’t-know-what-to-do, flipppin’, freakin’ hard.
Open adoption is not the cause of the problem.
And open adoption is also not the solution in this particular case. Though contact can make things messier (relationships are messy! People have different viewpoints and opinions than I do — go figure), the trade-off for the added turmoil is knowledge and support and insight and maybe even some other benefits that await discovery as our tale unfolds.
I still believe that openness is preferable to the alternative — being in denial or in the dark or closing my heart to vulnerability and authenticity. (By “openness” I refer more to the spirit we parent with rather than the type and amount of contact with birth family members, though contact can be a part of it.) The root issue facing our family constellation would exist whether our adoptions were open or closed — and even whether or not there had been an adoption in the first place.
To offer it (yes, a nebulous “it”) up in the abstract, though, I offer you this recent podcast by my friend Rebecca Vahle of the Parker Adventist Family to Family Adoption Support Program. Rebecca launched this program at a local hospital nine years ago and is now bringing it to hospitals all over the country as they strive to become more adoption-competent. As Rebecca says, this much-needed program is one last opportunity on the path of an adoption placement to ensure that patients and clients make decisions based on knowledge and education — the program does not have a stake in whether or not a woman (and possibly her partner) decides to place.
We all know that knowledge and education are vital to making good decisions for ourselves and for our children. Please Like on Facebook the Adoption Perspectives Radio Show so that you have easy access to more insightful interviews.
It’s hard to have been adopted
In this hour-long soundcast, sponsored by a Christian radio station (enlightening for people of all spiritual traditions, or none), Rebecca interviews Jen Winkelmann, MA, LPC, NCC, an adoption-competent therapist in the Denver area. Rebecca and Jen cover, among other things:
- How open adoption is not a magic bullet.
- The 6 risk factors for attachment and relationship challenges, and how they affect a baby’s template.
- Parents giving the child permission to “go there.”
- The effect that a “meant-to-be” sentiment can have on an adopted child (such as “God brought you to us” or “you were meant to be in our family” (adoption bloggers have covered before the idea of destiny in adoption).
- Pre-verbal memories that are formed in utero.
- How we’re continually learning and figuring this parenting thing out at a deeper level. And we must always remain open to learning and adapting.
Yes, this is a vague post. Though we are going through tough stuff, my family and I — as Rebecca says here, “it’s hard but it’s healing.”
I’ll hang my hat on that for now.