When you adopt a child, you go through a very lengthy process, but one of the most critical phases is the home study.
When I adopted Grace, I was convinced I knew all there was to know about children, yet did not sleep for a week leading up to it the much feared, home study.
The social worker comes to view your home and ensure that you do have a home and you are who you say you are and to then interview you with very important questions.
One question is, "Do you know other families in the neighborhood with children?"
Well by that point my nieces and nephew were grown and I worked solely with older adults so I gave the best answer I could, thinking it was brilliant at the time, and explained no, not really, but I think it is kind of like having a dog. You know you don't know anyone with a dog until you have one, then when you are out walking the dog, you meet other dog owners.
The social worker looked at me aghast and for that reason, among other such brilliant answers, I did not sleep for the week after the home study.
Thank the good Lord, I was approved, in spite of myself, and I adopted Grace.
When I went to adopt Annabel, I was blessed with a very kind and understanding social worker, who understood you could have a good heart and love children, yet be stupid when interviewed and after our second meeting or maybe the third, I felt I could open up and be myself, for all the weaknesses I have as a mom but that she would never take away my children, because she saw I loved them and would do anything for them in spite of how stupid I was as a mother.
I tell all of this to explain that recently I have been dealing with some worries that have left me perplexed, not a word I use often, but feels fitting to my current feelings.
In the world of adoption there are many sources of information. Some of these sources had caused me great alarm as they are adult adoptees who want to help the adoptive parent with their insights of being an adopted child, but instead had caused me a great fear and plenty of concern, as their own experiences had not been the unicorns and rainbow life that their biological mothers had probably expected it to be.
What if adopting a child scarred them for life and there could be no happy endings?
I have to admit, I have fretted about this for months. I look at my daughters and wonder, do they wish they were still in China? Can they ever know how very important they are to me and I don't see adoption, I only see them as daughters? Can they ever accept me as their mother, not the woman who took them away from the only life they knew? Not to get overly dramatic, but a true concern based on some of those resources.
I finally mustered up the courage to contact my social worker.
All I can do now is wonder why I did not do this sooner?
She explained to me, that she is also adopted, which if I ever knew, I forgot, as she does not preface her communications with the fact she is adopted.
She kindly explained to me that all adoptions are different yet all include loss. That there appears to be some difference in how the adoptees feel if the parents had a choice or if, due to extenuating circumstances, the choice was taken from them, such as war, poverty, government policies, etc. That some adoptees feel the need to search out their birth families, while others do not. That no matter what type of home they are raised in, these differences still exist, that adopted siblings handle adoption and the search for birth families differently and the very fact that they are adopted.
I am so thankful for her words of wisdom and the many kindnesses she has shown me, much less her personal insight into so delicate a subject.
I know my daughters are different and I call them my yin and yang. Their circumstances and backgrounds were different, how could they possibly feel the same way about adoption when they don't even feel the same way about anything else.
We have talked a lot about their foster families. They played critical roles and there is a huge loss from being separated from them.
We have not talked as much about birth families, but now that door has been opened. Our goal is to return to China the summer they are 16. Whether we seek out birth families then will probably change a thousand millions times before then. If we do, I'm not sure what we would learn. Would there be a happy reunion or would there be heartache?
In the meantime, I am blessed with two daughters and I thank God every day for them and ask for his help and your prayers to be the best mother I can be.