celebrate adoption

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Earlier this week, an anniversary came and went without much fanfare on our parts, school and the transition back to that routine consuming our lives. We don't make a huge deal of adoption days around here, out of respect for our children and their first families, but we typically go out to eat or something. We want to follow our children's leads when it comes to processing their adoptions. They get to do this on their own terms. While we did make a big deal out of their adoptions when they occurred, this happened with sensitivity to them and their first families. We probably wouldn't have done the same things if they'd been older, if they'd had more contact with their parents, etc. 

Adoptive parents are always walking this fine line of reminding our children that they are special, that they have unique stories, that we love and respect every part of them, including their past and their first families and not making too much out of all that. Not to make them seem "other" or to remind them of past trauma. Never to make them feel like they don't belong or that they're less than in any way.

This week, however, we fielded multiple situations in our family where things were 'not fair'. Where they felt like other families had more things, more money, where other kids get better material items, better experiences, and on and on. These are times when we need to remind our children that they were, each of them, placed in our family for a reason. They were placed in our family through different ways, but that doesn't change how our family functions. Regardless of how things started out, we believe that we're all in this family because God put us here. He gave us to one another. Our children to us, us to our children, the kids to one another. We are a team, and there is no one else in this world that can fill each of the positions on our team other than the ones already here.

Thursday night, we headed downtown to the courthouse yet again. Four years and four days after the first time we walked into that building. This time wasn't for an adoption finalization, but the unveiling of a mural that some of the adoptive families in our county helped create. We each made appointments, went and painted for an hour or so, and now that mural hangs in the hallway of our county's Probate Court. It's beautiful, and it was an amazing way to commemorate our anniversary. Special in a way that another dinner at Cracker Barrel could never be.

It reminded our kids, both the ones who were adopted into our family and the ones who were born into our family, that our family is unique. We are special, and we get to do amazing things that all of those families that they feel have more material goods and bigger houses and more money will probably not ever get the opportunity to experience. We might not make a huge deal about adoption all the time here, depending on the needs and mood of our kids at any one time. We might not have big parties and give gifts like some people do on adoption anniversaries. We will continue to be sensitive to the pain and loss that our children feel surrounding their adoptions, but one truth remains this week: no one else in this entire world will have the experience of being a part of this particular family at this particular time. And that's something to celebrate.
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