There is one thing about adoption that people don’t tell you about. You know, when you go through this process you are split open and put on display. Every element of your life is picked over and analyzed. And you attend all these classes and role play all these scenarios and learn how to handle all these different issues, or at the very least, you know what resources are available to you when those issues arise. But do you know what they don’t prepare you for? What happens when your life falls apart. When families split up, there is so much heartache and sadness and grief and pain. But when you have an adoptive family, there are added layers of people you are disappointing. It’s not just both of your families and extended families that are affected. No. You know have immediate and extended families in addition to your families, and that’s per adopted child. We welcomed open adoption because it’s what’s best for most children and biological parents. And we have been blessed to have relationships with these family members that have been appropriate and wonderful and supportive. But I’ve had a harder time thinking about having to tell them what’s going on than I have my parents and siblings.
Think about it. This biological parents of my children gave up their babies because they thought they could not provide the kind of life that they needed. And despite the fact that both of my boys would have been taken away because of drug dependency, both of these mothers could have made the choice to keep them in the system to give themselves time to get their lives back in order and get them back. But, they didn’t. Both moms, seeing their own situation more clearly and realistically, made the choice to give these baby boys to someone else in hopes for a better life for them. They saw their own frustrations and sadness and living conditions and felt their very own babies would be better off with another mother. They put trust in the system, knowing we had been interviewed and researched and educated about adoption and babies and what the needs of these sweet babies would be. And they made that sacrifice. And in both cases, their families were supportive of them and us. They thanked us for taking these babies, and they were relieved to meet us and find that we were loving and kind and so excited to have these babies. They brought gifts and have stayed in touch. They have answered medical questions and celebrated birthdays and holidays with us. And they have thanked us. Often.
And now, things have happened. And we are struggling and we are separating. And a good part of the tears I’ve shed and the fears that haunt me are how I’ve disappointed these hopeful, beautiful families. Seven extra parents (counting parents of other half-siblings), at least eight extra grandparents, aunts, cousins and six other siblings either biological or through adoption. And I feel like the list goes on. All these people that thought we were the better option. And to feel like I wasn't. Like I failed them. Like somewhere they were deceived into thinking I could do better and not have problems. And I wonder if they will regret their choice. It can crush you.
I’m not looking for pity or for anyone (please, oh please don’t do it….) to tell me how awesome I am. But, I’ve always been very frank in my blog and with my kids and with anyone who wants to know anything about adoption and infertility and all the other issues that go with it. So, I can’t sugarcoat this now. It is one of the hardest parts of this separation. I know lots of families go through this and worse. I will dig in and be strong and try to help my kids in the best way that I can. I’ve made some big mistakes and we will all pay a certain price for it. But, as I sat in a parent teach conference this week sheepishly explaining to the teacher what was going on so she could be aware of added stresses on my sweet boy, she said “he just adores you”. And, I really, really needed to hear that. We’ve been through quite a bit the last couple of years and I have been more pained at the effect of the conflict on these innocent boys more than anything else. I’m not sure I cared as much about anything else she said than that. Despite it all, I hope my boys will know how much I love them. And, I hope those who put their faith in me so deeply as to give me these little humans to raise and to love will continue to trust me to care for them and help them through all the pains of life. I still don’t regret adopting them. I don’t regret the journey one bit. We move forward. Always moving forward as a family, whatever that may look like. And please don't call us a broken family. We are not broken. We have just been rearranged. And we will make it.