Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lets get "real"!

What is it about open adoption that makes people squirm? I was at story time with Lovebug today when another mom and I started talking. We did the normal mom routine: How old is he?  Is she sleeping for you? Oh, I see you use cloth diapers too... here lets trade tips! We started building a small rapport and after a while I started to let my guard down. After a little more chatting I mentioned that we'd actually adopted and then it began...

I don't hide Lovebugs adoption, but I've learned over time to be selective of when we talk about it. In the beginning I talked about it all the time. I was so excited about being her mom and how we'd got to that point. I wanted to scream it from the roof tops... although I did manage to refrain from doing so. But, as time went on we decided not everyone has good intentions with their questions, some people are just being nosy and although we're proud of how Lovebug became our daughter we don't want it to define our family. So, I became pickier with my adoption talk.

So, back to the story... We're talking and I mention adoption. After a few positive exchanges regarding the topic I mentioned our open adoption with Lovebugs birthmom and family and how wonderful it's been. She responded with a "you know I know someone else who's said the same thing, but......" and then with a grimace on her face, as if she was about it inform me of the mistake I somehow over looked in my decision to communicate with the "other side", she said "but, what are you going to do when she knows who her "real" mom is?"

I should have said "you know I've never thought of myself as imaginary until now... thanks for the insight!", but that wouldn't have got me very far. So I smiled and said "I am her real mom, but we're not concerned with her knowing her birthmom (othermom, firstmom) and that side of her family, too. We feel it's healthy. After all they are her family(and ours) and make her who she is." She went on to say some other, unfortunately ignorant comments about adoption and eventually I just ended the conversation. But, it got me thinking: What is it with open adoption that makes those not involved in it so threatening? After pondering it for a little bit it hit me...

I think open adoption hits at people at the core, arousing their own insecurities. If we're openly accepting Lovebug having 2 moms, well what does that say about their status as a mom? Could she be so easily replaced as well? Could her child love another mom if we expect our child to do so? Surely, a child has only enough room in their life for one mom and that's her..right?

But, what about moms who are adding to their brood. Fears arise, concerns will I ever love another child as much as I do my first? As soon as a mom voices this fear, veteran mom's jump at the chance to reassure her that a mother love doesn't divide with her children, but her heart and love grows to accommodate them.  So why wouldn't the same apply to the child? Is a child's heart incapable of loving more the 1 or 2 people? I don't think so.

God gives us hearts big enough to love everyone. In a traditional family, a child has many people to love: mom, dad, brothers, sisters,grandma, grandpa, nana, papa, aunts, uncles, cousins and the list goes on. Loving one doesn't take away from loving another. Each family member has a special place in that childs life and the child loves them accordingly, allowing their heart to grow with love as they build each unique relationship. The same goes for open adoption. Lovebug loving me as her mom takes nothing away from her loving her birthmom and vice versa. We both have a unique place in her life and could never replace each other. She wouldn't be who she is and who she's going to be without the influence of both of us. And is it possible to have too many grandparents or aunts and uncles? I think not.

So why would I be concerned? If anything, it fills me with pride to think of my daughter being confident enough to know she can love her whole family, wholeheartedly, without fear. I want her to grow up being proud of who she is and knowing we're proud of who she is and who she is didn't start when she was 48 hours old. Who she is also is not an adopted person. She's a person who happened to be adopted. She has a large family full of people who love her and would do anything for her. IMO, that in and if itself is something to be proud of.

We all have enough room in our hearts to love others...we just have to get past our insecurities and start putting others first. Hubby and I love our newly extended family and look forward to extending it further.Our family may not be traditional and fit into the box that some like to try and shove us into, but we like it this way. For "real"!


  1. I was like you once ...wanted to shout her adoption from the roof top. Now, I'm also selective. Real mom...what makes a real mom anyways? If you ask my two month old, it is the mom who feeds, loves, changes and clothes her.

    I think people are scared...they could never share their kid like us but they do...with other family members. Yes, it is their birth mom, but really it is another family member to love them and for our child to love.

  2. Loved this one, as I do all your posts! I was talking with my girlfriends this weekend about this very same thing. About how hard it is for people to "get it" and accept, even though it's not their particular situation. I try to take the opportunity to educate people as much as I can, but some people hold so tightly to their perfect word in their perfect little box, that they can't see outside of it!

  3. Great post! You are so right- what makes people think they only have the capacity to love one person? I never thought of it threatening their own security as a mother. Thanks for sharing!