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Adoption Blog: Our Family Grows With Love

His Own Story

Recently, while talking about adoption with my husband, he looked at me with concern etched deeply on his face, and said, "My biggest fear is that, at some point, Max is going to tell me that I am not his real dad. Maybe when he's older, and angry with me for whatever reason -- I can feel my heart breaking just thinking about him saying that to me."

I know my husband was asking me this question because I am his wife, and we are raising our son together. He wanted my opinion as his partner in crime, so to speak. But my husband also knows I can respond from a different level of understanding because I, too, am an adoptee.

I don't remember ever telling my parents they were not my "real" parents. Honestly, I don't remember ever even thinking that. If I never said, or thought, that my parents were not my real parents, our son will not either, right? I realized that I had never imagined my son saying those words until my husband raised his concern. As I reflected further, I began to wonder if my own perspective as an adoptee could cloud my ability to see my son's personal adoption experience. Just as there may be some similarities in our experiences, there will surely be some differences.

My husband and I are striving to surround our son with love, openness, and an environment in which he is comfortable asking us any question and expressing any concerns or emotions he may have. We hope to provide him the answers he will need, or, at the very least, to be able to provide him with the resources to find those answers.

Though my son is likely to have some of the same questions I have had, he may be looking for a different answer than the one that satisfied me. My job as his mother will not only be to help him find the answers he needs, but to allow him to keep looking until he is satisfied. If his concerns differ from mine, my job will be to give him all of the reassurance I can, but also to allow him to find reassurance wherever, or from whomever, he needs. And if his emotions about adoption aren't the same as mine, I will need to help him understand and manage those emotions, and also to allow him to feel them in whatever way he needs.

For me to assume that my son's experience will exactly mirror mine would be incredibly irresponsible. He is not me, and I need to be able to give him the room to live his own experience.

I promise you, my beautiful son, to answer all of your questions, even if I never asked them of my parents. I promise to acknowledge the validity of your every concern and emotion, even if I never personally experienced the same concern or emotion. I promise to allow you to have your own adoption experience, separate and apart from my own.

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Wow, what a powerful post!  Your son is so lucky that you are realizing this now, because it is a common mistake parents make, assuming the child who is like them in some way will have the same feelings and experiences.  Thanks for this.

By jszmom on Monday, April 02, 2012 at 5:08 pm.

Great post!

By Barbara Herel on Wednesday, April 04, 2012 at 4:46 pm.

I too am an adoptee & we have 2 amazing adopted children ( 2 & 3yr old). I tend to feel at ease & do not at all feel worried about talking w/them about their adoptions. It simply is all I have ever known & is not at all a “foreign or scary” concept to me. Thank you for the wonderful post. It sheds new light & perspective on the different needs of each adopted child/person! grin

By SBennett on Wednesday, April 04, 2012 at 7:11 pm.

I am also an adoptee and am currently waiting for a match. I think I’m really lucky to have this perspective because I know how much I love my dad and consider him to be my dad fully - I don’t think I have the anxiety issues some adoptive parents have about bonding. But you’re right - no two adoptees’ experiences are exactly the same.

By gottadance on Friday, April 06, 2012 at 12:25 am.

Thank you for this!!!  This is a wonderful post…  smile

By Kelly-O on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 4:52 pm.

Jandsmom,  Thank you so much for your kind words! This was a post I struggled with more than some of my previous posts. Not sure why, but I did. I am so glad you enjoyed it! It is so helpful that my husband is not an adoptee, it allows me to see things through his eyes in a completely different way than I see them. We make a pretty good team.

Thanks, Barbara! I appreciate the feedback.

SBennett, Than you so much for your feedback. I do think being an adoptee and an adoptive parent is advantageous in a lot of respects as well! I am so thankful for your feedback!

Gottadance, I hope that you are matched soon! And yes, we are able to offer out children a unique perspective as adoptees.

Kelly-O, I am so glad you enjoyed the post and I truly appreciate your feedback!

By Maximilian's Mommy on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm.

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