Friday, February 24, 2017

On telling their story

I am surrounded by adoption. When I mean surrounded, I mean sur.round.ed. My sister has 6; I have 3; One roommate from college spends her days matching families, supporting birth mommas and new adoptive parents (check her out here); My best friend has 3; My "people" where I live all have adopted children. You could say we just kinda...gravitate toward each other and need each other and our experiences.

Each of those families is filled with adopted children, biological children, step-children. And each of those children have their own story.

One of the concerns adoptive parents often have for their child is how to tell their story.

Many have been warned not to tell ANYONE. It's not our story to tell. However, those of us who have adopted transracially or globally will often be asked {by strangers sometimes} about our family. Advice: have a blanket quick-tell of the version of the story that most involves you. Maybe share why your family chose to adopt. Read on for more advice, but I promise it's not to keep it all a bit fat secret.

Many are wanting to keep adoption private. Often there's so much loss involved in the decisions made around adoption that some people prefer to keep it quiet. You do that. Advice: please know...there are so many of us out here that can help support you. We can hold your hand or hold you up. We can whisper promises that God has set on our hearts through our journey. Sometimes it feels better that we aren't the only one walking this road.

Many are proud to tell their family's story. Maybe even eager. You want to spread all the news to all the people. You want your story to maybe push another family into this journey of love. You want to share, share, share. Advice: Do that. Be eager about your adoption. Tell the impact it's had on your family. Tell the way it has blessed you personally. Be careful, though, about personal details you share about your child's family and past. This is especially important in foster care, where there is so much grief and loss in losing a parent (no matter how long they had with them).

While I offer no judgement, I can offer my experience {for what it's worth}. I was adopted domestically through an agency, and now as a grown adoptee, I am now an adoptive parent through foster care (for now). We have three children who have all blessed us in more ways than we can tell.

The truth is, adoption is hard. It's beautiful. But it's hard. Bonding is hard. Loving kids from hard places is hard. There's so much loss (often on both sides) that makes it hard to navigate. On the "telling of their story," it's not ours to tell, parents. It's just not.

As a child, I remember being told "you don't have to tell people you're adopted." Somewhere along the way, even though it wasn't part of the language my parents used for adoption, deep down, I felt it {being adopted} was something to be ashamed of. As if the loss and abandonment feelings aren't great enough.

My story is amazing. My parents are amazing. My family is amazing. My life has been amazing. Being adopted is part of who I am. I wanted {needed} to tell people. I did. And not everyone does, but it's not our jobs to tell the stories of our kids.

People want to hear them...boy howdy, do they. But I say a lot..."That's not my story to tell." So what they hear instead is my portion. 

As a parent, my story is full of gratitude that he/she is mine. I am broken and sad about the loss they have encountered. And I am hopeful of the plan God has for all three of my children....simply because He's already ordained so much.

As an adoptee, I am an open book. My experience and loss and grief might be able to help someone along the way. Ask away. My story is full of Gods timing and grace and humor and the best family I could ever ask for. ❤️

The truth is - adoption = the gospel. It's messy and ugly. It's redemptive and beautiful. It's hard to grasp, and so full of love that you can't contain it. So let's tell our story...not theirs. When they're ready / able / willing...they'll tell theirs.