Little One, this is difficult for me to write, but I feel like I need to tell you this. I have written this letter to you over and over again in my head, but cannot seem to find the right words to fit. Regardless, I’m going to make an attempt.
I’ve been reading a lot of adoption parenting books lately, and I want to make something abundantly clear to you: it’s okay to be sad that you’re adopted.
This is why this letter is so difficult.
We’re ecstatic to be adopting, Lo. We’re over the moon about having you in our lives. But with the excitement and joy of adoption also comes the underbelly that no one likes to discuss: loss. In the first moments or years of your life, you’re going to suffer a major loss that not many people will suffer until they are much, much older. You will lose your biological family, in a sense. Hopefully not forever, since we’d like an open adoption scenario if possible- but nonetheless, you will have a loss.
And it is difficult to write this as your Mom who is excited for you to be in our family, because I am also sad for you because of this. I know that it will most likely cause some pain down the road, and being your Mom I wish you never had to experience pain, even for an instant.
But I want you to know this, sweet baby, and I will repeat it a thousand times to you: it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to miss your first Mom and Dad. It’s okay to ask questions to us, to tell us you want to know more about them, to tell us that you are sad that they aren’t your Mom and Dad everyday like we are. This will not hurt our feelings. We will understand.
We want to be the type of parents who have a completely honest and open relationship with our children, built on a strong foundation of trust and understanding. We don’t ever, even for a millisecond want you to think that you’re not allowed to talk about your loss or concerns. I promise to you that we will never get angry or upset, that we’ll never lash out or be disappointed.
What we will do is grieve with you. We are both experiencing some form of grief in this. I will always wish I had you from the very start, that I got to hold you in the depths of my body and experience giving birth to your unique and beautiful soul. I will always miss that, the same way you will always miss having a “traditional” family. That is okay. It doesn’t ever mean that we don’t love each other like I didn’t give birth to you or you didn’t come from my DNA. All it means is that we’re human, and we’re allowed to be sad for things that hurt us inside.
If on your birthday, you want to have some time to reflect, we’ll honor that. If you want to talk about your first family, compare noses or personality traits, we’ll encourage that. Just because we love you more than anything and know that you ARE our son or daughter, we want to be there for you in every way possible. I hope this makes our parental bond strong, and that it leads to us being a better family because of it.
I don’t ever want you to feel like you cannot talk about these feelings. I don’t ever want you to feel like you owe us something, that you were “lucky” to be adopted, that you should be grateful that we adopted you. I just want you to feel the love of family, our open arms embraced around you in the good times and the bad. I want you to know deep down that it’s okay to be sad sometimes, that you can talk about it to us without hurting our feelings,
It’s difficult to write this post because I’m a positive thinker to a fault. I focus on the positives in every situation, good and bad. For me, the glass is always half full- and when it’s not half full, it’s brimming over the top. So it’s hard for me to write about something we’re so excited for and so grateful for in a negative light. But that is the situation Lo, and sometimes with beautiful and amazing positves come negatives. Despite this, I think the positives of this adoption will far outweigh the negatives for all of us.
In a lot of these books, adult adoptees discuss feeling like something was always missing, or something just wasn’t right. They felt that they couldn’t discuss it with their families for fear of hurting their feelings or coming off as ungrateful. Know that we will never think that of your feelings. Your feelings about adoption, good and bad, are completely valid. I promise that we will never dismiss them, and we always want you to voice them if you feel like you can. And if you feel like something isn’t right and you cannot put your finger on it, you can talk to us about that too. Together as a family, we will work through it.
Never feel alone, Lo. You’re not alone at all. Your Dad and I are here, day and night, forever. If you are fifty two years old and wake up in the middle of the night needing to talk, I’m here. That is what parents are for, Lo.
I know I talk alot about how our lives will be with you. This is not to put any pressure on you at all. Always be true to who you are deep down inside, never what anyone (including us) expects you to be. I’m not planning any kind of grandiose future for you, that is up to you, sweet baby. And we’ll support you no matter what you decide. The only reason I talk about how much our lives will improve with you in them is so that you know how excited we are, how loved you are already, and how much we have wanted you to be our child from the very start.
You were never for a single second unwanted or unloved. We have always wanted you to be our kid, and we have always loved you.
Keep in mind that everyone has their thing. For you, it might be that you’re adopted. For other kids, it might be that they are being raised by a single parent, or they have an illness, or too much pressure at home. Life seems perfect from the outside for a lot of people, but looks can be decieving. Even when you feel alone for being adopted, remember that. And remember that it is okay to be upset, sad, or simply curious about your journey into our lives.
We as your parents will not judge.
Our goals in parenting you are pretty simple, sweet baby. In no order: 1. Keep you safe, 2. Keep your emotionally happy and secure, 3. Love you always. To accomplish these goals, we need you to come to us when you have feelings of sadness and talk about it with us. That is what Moms and Dads are for.
It’s hard when you’re young and you cannot voice the nagging feeling in your gut that tells you something is different. That is why we vow to always be one hundred percent honest with you about your adoption journey. We will never hide or conceal information from you. We will always tell you (in an age appropriate manner) how you came to be in our lives. We will always have an empty lap and long arms to comfort you when you’re sad, even when you can’t put your finger on why.
When you are older, we promise to let your adoption story be your story to tell or not tell. There might be times where you don’t feel like explaining it or being labelled as the “adopted kid.” We will always respect and honor that decision, and we’ll never take it as a slight to you being embarassed or ashamed of your adoption status. Your story is your story, and who you do and do not share it with is your decision, not ours.
At a wedding last weekend, a stranger sat at the same table as us. We got to know him throughout the night, and he heard us talking about our adoption for hours (we’re pretty obnoxious about it sometimes- you never know who might know of someone is our theory). Hours later, after he felt comfortable with us, he explained that he himself is an adoptee. He shared his story with us on his terms, in his timeframe. We appreciated that he gave us a viewpoint we don’t often get- that of and adult adoptee. We told him about our blog, how we’re writing to you to let you know of our journey and he thought it was a great idea. It made us feel a lot better that someone who has been on the same path as you will be gave us insight.
Our grieving together will only bring us closer together and make us stronger, Lo. And being sad about something doesn’t mean you’re not happy about most things. Even though there will always be a part of me that is sad that we didn’t get to experience life with each other from the very start, my love for you and how you came to be in our lives will always far outweigh that grief. I hope the same goes for you, and you feel the same way.
But no matter your feelings, our ears are always open and ready. Our hearts are ready for your feelings, our minds ready for your thoughts, our bodies ready to comfort you.
No matter what, Lo, we’re here for you.
Love forever in good times and bad,