Someone asked me today, “What if he says to you someday that he wants to go live with his birth family”?
First of all, what a horrible thing to ask. As an adoptive parent, you get many questions like this and it’s truly unfortunate. It still goes to prove that the world does not look at adopted children the same in a family as they look at birthed children. Adoptive parents look at their children as their children. We don’t look at them as “that adopted child”.
Of course I know that my son is adopted. It’s ignorant for anyone to think that I’m oblivious to that. I’m quite active in the adoption community and in his story. I know his birth family well, and they will always be a part of his life. His heritage is important to me as is educating him about his ethnicity. His father and I take great pride that he will always know these things and they will not be taboo in our house nor in our family. Adoption will always be something he hears and it will not be something that he will feel badly about.
I’m sure he’ll have questions. I know Logan and I know that he will have a million of them. That’s okay. His birth story will be told again and again, I’m sure of that. Nothing will be held back—the reasons for why he was placed with us, how it came to be, his birth mother’s struggle, her peace in placement, and our joy in every moment since his birth. She will always know him and he will always know her. He will also know most of his biological siblings and several of his aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. We are quite blessed in our relationship with them.
That being said, we ARE his family and the birth family is an extension of that. It may sound backwards to some, but that is adoption. When Logan thinks about his family, he will first think of our family—the family he was raised with as his own. If we do what we are supposed to do, he will also view his birth family as a part of that.
As a young teenager, I wanted to go live somewhere else from time to time. But when it came down to it, I never would have left my family on a “whim” just because I “could”. My mom and dad were my mom and dad and even if I had the option to go elsewhere, I wouldn’t have done so.
Logan is our child and we have the right to make him stay with us even if he DID ever come to us with this request. He couldn’t just decide he wanted to go live with them and it be legal for him to do so—just like any other child in any other family. That was my response to this question. “He would not be permitted to do so until he was legally an adult.”
If he decided as an adult to move there and be with them…we would have to be okay with it. He would be an adult and that would be his choice. I suppose that the world doesn’t understand that the birth family of my son truly is an extension of my own. That being said, if he wanted to move in with certain members of that family that were bad influences, we would have that discussion and it would be strongly discouraged.
The assumption was that in allowing visitations with his birth family, that he would feel drawn to them and want to live with them instead of us. I suppose it is the ignorance of the person that asked the question, but I know many, many adopted adults that have helped me understand the feelings of the adopted child/adult. Allowing this contact is nothing but beneficial to my son. I would not want it any other way, if I have the choice.
I understand that some birth mothers cannot fathom an open adoption and I do understand the “why’s” of this thought process. However, I’m always grateful that we DO have an open adoption and that my son is going to be blessed with knowing them. If our next child has a different plan…we will handle that as his/her PARENTS. Really, isn’t that what all parents do? You tackle the tough things and show love to your children no matter what. It’s called parenting.
Allowing my son to be close to his birth family is in no way a hindrance to me or my husband. To us, it is the best possible scenario. It isn’t something that we fear, nor is it something that we feel opens up a gate to lose him in the future. On another note, I don’t believe that his birth mother would even allow him to do this as a rebellion. She’d probably tell him that he needs to talk to his mom and dad. Ha!
It’s just another one of those things, I suppose. Another question that comes with being adoptive parents. You take them as they come. Yes, they can be hurtful—especially when they come from someone who you are close with…who knows you well. But that is part of the educational process of teaching others about adoption. My hope is that someday all of the negativity surrounding adoption goes away and it is no longer taboo in this country—especially in the south. It’s much more accepted in other areas of this country and I hope that I can be a “small” part of changing the minds and hearts of more people here.
Family. It comes in many forms and it comes to us in many ways. But family is family nonetheless. Ours came to us like this and we are forever grateful.