Monday, February 8, 2010

Open Adoption

Stefan's birthmom and her family came to see us after Christmas. It was such a gracious time and a real good release for me. She brought me a lovely present I will always cherish.  It's the pendant you just see above.

I have to say as an adoptive mother I've often felt second best, that people viewed me as not a "real" mother.  I still carry that chip.  N., you are such a trouper and such a good friend.

I've always done my very best to be open, loving and respectful with the birthfamilies and they have been truly amazing people.  God bless them all.


Anonymous said...

I never realised that you felt second best as an adopted mother. Being that the boys are of another race and are obviously adopted, there was never any question that I never gave birth to them. I think never having to tell people that they were not biologically connected to us helped us avoid that sense of sadness or pity that overcomes many people when you have to explain your story. I think because we avoided a lot of the adoption dialouge in our life, I never had opportunity to feel second.

I felt an enourmous amount of guilt after finding out I was pregnant. These feelings came from the overwhelming excitement everyone had after hearing the news, the kind of excitement no one had when I announced we were matched with a birth family. I never wanted the boys to sense that obvious expression that having a biological child was so much better than adopting. I still struggle with reinforcing that the boys were enough for me, more than I ever wanted and that the conception of G. was certainly unplanned and unexpected in everyway. Somehow people assume it was my attempt to capture something that was missing from our lives.

Being that I have had the opportunity to be an adoptive mother and a birth mom, I can tell you with complete honesty that pregnancy and biology is completely over rated. The love and devotion I have for the boys is the same that I have for G.

Thanks for sharing. I appreciate all of your open adoption insight. It gives me time to ponder our own family and adoption story.
-Marilyn M.

Brigitte said...

Thanks so much Marilyn M.

I think the feeling second best has something to do with the constellation of people in your life and also one's level of self-pity, or having grown in the sense of "entitlement", as they term it, or if people interfere a lot with your child-rearing or say rude things or how they treat you and how you perceive that. I think we've had some unique circumstances.

Marilyn writes: "Being that I have had the opportunity to be an adoptive mother and a birth mom, I can tell you with complete honesty that pregnancy and biology is completely over rated. The love and devotion I have for the boys is the same that I have for G."

I think women are generally wired for devotion and we have no trouble devoting ourselves to adopted children, and most men don't either. And even then it is natural to have different types of relationships with different types of people, based on temperament.

Sometimes, I think, however, that it is possible that the adopted child as he/she gets older will find that their temperament matches their birth family's more than their adopted family's and that there is an understanding that's just there when you share genes. As time went on I realized more and more how much is inherited. I was always amazed how much N. understood Stefan, in spite of the little time they were able to spend together. Or maybe we spent enough time together for her to have such understanding. With A. I was always amazed at the gesturing, etc. that was exactly the same. And you think: how is this possible?

In any case, all around it is a blessing, and in the end, who would have had it any differently?

Anonymous said...

I am the product of a closed adoption. I was placed for adoption at 4.5 years of age and so was always aware that I was adopted. My adoptive family had two biological sons who were older than myself by two and five years. I was never accepted in the same way by my adoptive parents or their respective families. I was always different and treated differently. Was it me? I have often thought that I was too damaged to fit into an already dysfunctional family.
My biological family tracked me down when I was in my early twenties and I find myself craving to be part of their lives, but time has passed and my siblings and I have lived different lives. There is still a connection but it is tentative and I believe my presence brings memories of a painful childhood. Being a child of adoption is a confusing process, always wondering why and what if? The children will most likely search for love a little harder than others and I have a feeling that having both the biological parents and the adoptive parents in their lives must answer so many questions.

Brigitte said...

Hello Anon: thank you for your comment. I would like to write you something, but I'm visiting tonight. Tomorrow, then. XO

Brigitte said...

I have to come to think that knowledge and familiarity with the birthfamily is a basic human right. Sometimes our parents have died and such and the opportunities to know them are gone. But it appears that also those conceived by donor insemination or adopted from a foreign country have a need and a right to know their families.

This presents many difficulties. It also requires a lot of commitment, selflessness and frankness, and maturity from all parties. This is not a bad thing. We are in this life to grow in love and hope despite all kinds of circumstances.

Faith helps in all these things without measure. Faith that God has your life in his hands, even when the path seems dark; faith that He cares for you even when it seems that others don't; faith that he loves you without measure and reservation as demonstrated by His incomparable sacrifice.

Families will always present some measure of dysfunction, biological or adopted because we are all very flawed. Friendship and love is cultivated in all kinds of circumstances, but often requires lots of patience, time and trying again and again, even if you receive nothing back. This is where faith comes in again. Even if there seems to be no result, it is in the Father's hand. You do the right thing for him and leave the results to their own and his conclusion and fruits. You are only responsible for your end of things. And it is within you to just keep giving and see what happens.

Dear and deep connections are formed in many ways. The biological one is great but not fool-proof. The adoptive one is also great because spending a life-time together is a very profound experience and the dedication in caring for one another is a great expression of love. And on top of that, when you have a brother or sister in Christ, biological, adoptive or only spiritual, the connection is so deep, it defies description. I have loved some of them so much, I would gladly give my life for them if necessary.

Into God's family we all are "adopted"; it is not by nature a second best way to be family.

My thoughts for the day. :)