We designed this site in order to keep in touch with friends and family who are far away and in order to communicate with other adoptive families from around the world.

When we first started researching this wonderful way to become a family we read everything we could get our hands on. Even though there are a lot of great books out there, nothing was as informative or touching as the blogs we found by adoptees, biological parents, and adoptive families. So we are writing this blog now in hopes of returning the favor. We hope that if you are dear to us you will enjoy keeping up with our adventures. If you are someone out there involved in a part of the adoption triad we hope you will find information and comfort here and provide us with some of your own!

If you would like to get in touch with us we can be reached at:
Feel free to stop by anytime. We're happy to share our family story.

Take care,
Brian and Rosemary

Friday, March 6, 2009

Real Family

What is a real family? Like most people, I don't like the expression "real parents" because it is so disrespectful to the entire adoption process. If I am the "real" mom then that implies that our child's first mom is in some way less authentic. On the other hand, if the biological parents are the "real" parents then the assumption is made that adoptive parents are fake.

The very nature of adoption guarantees that our children have two very real, very authentic sets of parents. They may also have multiple siblings from multiple unions and I can't begin to count how many possible grandparent sets they may have if divorce is involved. Why do any of these people need to be the "real" ones? Why can't they all just be who they are and bring their own offering to the banquet? I have two siblings. I have never once thought of one of them as the "real" sibling. Why should our child be forced to create an emotional ruling about which of his dads is the "real" one? Is it just me or does that seem like not only an impossible task but also an incredibly banal waste of time?

My friend Jessica over at her fantastic adoption blog recently said, “Forever family” seems redundant. All family is forever. All children may not live forever with their biological families, but Baby G’s birth parents are forever his birth parents. The adoption does not and cannot change that." I really loved her expression of this idea! Why do we get so uptight about these monikers and work so hard to create phraseology that will make our families sound... better? Why isn't the truth enough? Some people think that sincerity is confusing and scary in adoptive families. I guess I think that is the nature of almost all truths. We have to face up to that before we can heal though.

So what the heck are we going to tell our kids??? Well, Brian and I wonder about that a lot but I guess we'll just tell them the truth in the plainest possible terms as nearly as we understand it. I suppose I might say something like this:
"I am your adoptive mother. That makes me your mom completely. She is your biological mother. That makes her your mom fully. You have two mothers. That is a good thing but I am sure on some days it will seem very difficult. Why don't you tell me how that makes you feel?"

- Rosemary


Maci Miller said...

Good post! You always hit straight to the heart of the matter. And I couldn't agree more. Have to stop over at Jess's site. I really like her too!

blackbelt said...

I think each family uses the terms that work best for them. The "real" term, I've found, is usually for those unaware of the issues involving the adoption triad. Having said that, for me, I'm the mom. Period. I don't like to use any adjective before or after. However, I found I had to add "forever" to affirm to my son that this mom wasn't going to disappear. Bio kids of intact families usually don't question whether a family is forever or not. An adopted child, though, even as an infant, recorded in their brain/psyche that moms disappear. So resistant as I was, I spent many fearful and tearful moments comforting and reassuring my son.

His first mom, I call "tummy mommy." I know that term offends some people but so be it. I am not denying that she has an invisible tie to my son that will never disappear, and I hope one day he'll meet her. But, that's what she is. She bore him for 9 months, then gave him away at 2 days. I don't know if she wanted him or not, so I'm not going to tell my son that she did. Or that she loved him. I don't know that.

My son felt things way before he could put words to them. He's 6-1/2 and he still can't. It was up to me to help him, to reassure his fears and tell him,
"I love you no matter what. I will never leave you. I am your mommy forever and you are my baby forever."

rosemary said...

It's s wonderful the way you recognize your child's early losses! We absolutely intend to comfort our children in the same way saying, "We will be a family forever! and "Nothing can make us not be your Mommy and Daddy." All kids need to hear stuff like that but especially adoptees!

I wasn't really talking about the use of the word 'forever' in contexts such as those though. I mostly meant the purchase of t-shirts and other paraphernalia that say, "I AM HIS REAL MOM." or "WE ARE THE FOREVER FAMILY SO WHO ARE YOU?" I just don't think that stuff and the ideas behind them send kids a very positive message about their biological families which as you so beautifully put it "will always have an invisible tie" to them.

blackbelt said...

I have never seen those t shirts! Yuk! A *little* defensive, huh? I guess it's for those families who are SICK of hearing stuff like "is he your real son?" etc?

Chris and Terri said...

I agree. I think people dance around adoption. It is what it is. We chose adoption. We are very excited about our choice. No it isn't for everyone but it is very much for us.

People will definitely look at me and my very white family and ask if Mia is adopted. You laugh but it's going to happen. And they will invariably use words that we don't like.

So I agree - the truth - and the truth is Mia will have at least 3 moms. Bio, foster (hopefully, only one foster) and Me. We will tell her she was a lucky baby. Her mom made an adoption plan that allowed her to live with a Thai family until we arrived to take her to her home. And yes - as much reassurance as she needs to know that we will always be here loving her.

Emily said...

such a great post. you guys are going to be great parents.