So it’s National Adoption Month. And you know what that means.
It means all those other inferior months can go suck eggs. No, not really. I just wanted to say that, cause in my head that sounded funny. Cause, you know. Weirdo.
Anyway… if you’re still here… where was I?
Oh yeah, Adoption Month, and what it means… actually, I think what it means probably is contingent upon whether or not you’re even aware of it in the first place. After all, there are so many Months out there, it’s hard to keep track. It’s also National Historic Bridges Awareness Month, National Greens and Plantains Month, and let’s not forget National Banana Pudding Lovers Month (you think I’m making these up, don’t you? DON’T YOU? ) – and that’s just the tip of the Monthly iceberg, my friend. Go ahead, see for yourself:
So obviously, we tune into the months that tug at the strings of our heart (and some hearts are apparently touched by pudding- who are we to judge?). And I suppose I, and others like me, are tuned into Adoption month because of said heart string tugging. If you know me, you of course know why. But there may be one or two of you out there who don’t. So, to bring you up to speed, our family is blessed to have a daughter who came to us through this route. It’s a pretty cool story, the way she came to us, actually. Someday (with her permission) I may share it here, or in my “National Bridge Crossing, Puddin & Plantain Lover, Adoption Awareness” book that I am destined to write one day.
The thing is, I actually don’t like to make this a soapbox issue, and thus I haven’t written much about the subject, for a few reasons.
For one thing, it’s really not THAT big of a deal. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s changed our lives and all, yes, yes, of course… but no more than you people with the kids springing forth from the wombs experience your big deal. In that sense, it’s ALL a big deal, isn’t it? From not being a family to “hey, now we’re a family!”? Big, big deal. Kids do have a way of changing everything. Allz I’m saying is, as big deals go, it’s all relative, don’t you think? Adoption is just the way we arrived at our big deal… oh, I do so hope you’re tracking with me…
Ok, moving right along…
The other thing is, it’s not really just MY story to tell. It is in many ways our daughter’s story alone. And her story, though beautiful, is not simple, and certainly is not the template for all adoption stories out there (lest you think such a thing exists). Nope, we are not the poster family, not by a longshot. And let me say up front that our experience does not make me some kind of universal authority on adoption. It’s just our experience, no more, and no less legit than anyone else’s story out there. It does, however, give me some insight to share, and of course, what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t share my two cents with you?
So here, friend, are those two cents. I may throw in an extra cent, just for good measure:
Cent #1: Adoption is an event, not a status. Let me tell you what I mean by this. When it does come up (which surprisingly, is not regularly, any more than “hey, let’s talk about the obvious demographics of our lives” is a go to conversation for, well, any of us), here’s what we tell our daughter: “You WERE adopted. You aren’t adopted any more. Now you’re just our kid”. Cause that’s what she is. She’s NOT our adopted daughter. She’s our daughter. Adoption was just the means by which she came to us. It is not a badge she wears, cause you know, that would be weird.
Cent #2: Adoption is not a magic fairy tale. It’s also not a horror story. It’s pretty much just a reflection of the people involved in it. We’ve all seen the “Practically Perfect in Every Pinterest Way” stories that make us want to immediately sign up for a home study… and… we’ve also heard those awful tales of humanity gone wrong, ala Dateline… Remember when I said our story is not the template for all adoption stories? Yeah, well neither are these. Sometimes adoptive families are wonderful. Sometimes they are dysfunctional. And sometimes (raising hand here) a weird combination of both. Kind of like, oh, I don’t know… ALL other families on the face of the earth?
Again, let’s refer back to Cent #1: Adoption is an event. Just like a wedding is an event. It’s what happens after the event (and, in many ways, leading up to it) that shapes the kind of relationship(s) that springs forth from said event. It’s about a thousand choices you make every day, what you do about the baggage you’re carrying, the filters you hear everything through, and what to do with the annoyances and heartaches and interruptions and disappointments (and the fact that you, at any given moment will be on both the giving and receiving end of the aforementioned). Adoption, like ANYTHING, is what we make of it.
Cent #3. Adoption is wonderful. But it’s not easy. I feel silly for even saying this. But I think I have to. It seems that we have this polarized proclivity to either romanticize it or vilify it, and as such, we forget, it’s pretty much like the rest of life. And in case you haven’t gotten the memo, life is HARD. It’s full of disappointment. And pain. And problems. And unfairness. And… shall I go on? I think you get it. It seems, though, that we have this tendency to give special credence to certain niches of life’s challenges, and I’m not sure that’s helpful. I’m not minimizing any of them, so please don’t misunderstand. Life IS hard, I get it. For a myriad of reasons. Your deal may be different than mine, but who am I to tell you my deal should rank higher on the empathy meter? I think what I’m saying here is, we’re ALL dealing with hard things. But those hard things are also wonderful things, let’s not forget that. Because in the end, the “things” we are talking about… are people. People who are complicated. And difficult. And annoying. And hard . And wonderful.
Adoption is all of these things. Because we are all of these things.
And that’s MY story. Or at least my 3 CENTS.
What’s yours? (Seriously, I’d love to hear it!)