what is a friend?

friend
noun \ˈfrend\
: a person who you like and enjoy being with

: a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity)

I realize throughout my life I have made many friends.  My friendships go back to those I attended grammar school and high school with.  We have found ourselves reconnected because of social media.  Throughout recent years I have found myself with friends that live in my computer.  What is that you ask?  We met through common interests mainly blogging and adoption.  Why do they live in my computer?  We live across the world and may not ever meet in person.  Why then would I consider them a friend?  Because we have shared interests and converse somewhat regularly and again through social media.

Yet I have in my current life friends.  Friends that I have known through the 22 years I have lived in California, my mommy group friends who I met when our oldest was still a baby,  the friends we made on our shared journey to parenthood through adoption and those who we met when we moved to our neighborhood almost 2-1/2 years ago, and the friends I have made through being with my girls whether it be ballet or their elementary school .  I can say ALL of these people add to our daily lives.

Friends have been able to step in and help and in return I have been able to do the same.  Friends have celebrated with us holidays, birthdays or just a new season and reason to get together.  We are creating fun memories.

I watch my girls form their own friendships separate from those of the families we know together.  I see them create their own independent lives and realize how much they have grown.  When they were little, their immediate friends were the children of the Moms I met from the Mommy Group I had joined. Now they have friends from school, girl scouts, ballet and soccer too.

I thankful we all have these friendships in our lives and share with them interests and time.

friends

Day 17, #NaBloPoMo #BlogHer

 

 

always truthful

We learned early on during our journey to parenthood through adoption that the truth always comes out.  As parents through adoption, we have learned that we can tell the truth to our girls about their stories, but it needs to be age appropriate allowing them the ability to digest what they are being told.

Our younger daughter has lots of questions and feelings lately about her and our family.  Her questions relate to why she is part of our family but her younger brother lives with her birth mother and her husband.  Why did S make the choice of us to be her parents?.  At 7 years old she is working to figure out her place in ALL of her family.  Luckily not only does she have us to speak openly about how she is feeling and ask us questions, she has her birth mom to go to and ask the whys?.

Earlier this year she asked S directly about her placement with us.  S was honest and shared the truth about how hard it was to make that decision.  She also shared the hard truth of where she was in her life with struggles. That she had to learn to take care of herself and didn’t feel she could also take care of her daughter.

Today our daughter helped her brother celebrate his 6th birthday.  It had been sometime since we had spent time with him, her birth mom S and her husband.  A lot has transpired in the last 9 months.  S has been struggling and we had to step out of the picture.  It is a hard decision for us to step out as we love and want to support S.  At the same time, our girls are young and we don’t want them to create an impression of S when she is struggling that will leave a lasting impression that could harm their later relationships.

The party was fun and the kids had a blast.  It was near the end I saw S sitting with our daughter and could see they were talking. I know J had her questions of S as she is seeking answers that we can’t fully answer.  I could hear part of their conversation and knew that S was being her honest self as she tried to answer our daughters questions.  I could see she was upset and I moved in closer to see if I could be of help.  They didn’t need me to enter the conversation I just wanted them to know I was nearby for support.

It was in the car ride home that J shared their discussion and asked some more questions but this time for me to answer.  We talked about the early decisions S made when she was still pregnant with her.  We talked about our love for S and our support for her.  We talked about what has been happening and the outcome also being that S and her husband are separating.  We spoke about how that doesn’t affect our relationship with S, her brother and her husband that we are family and although it may look different it doesn’t change our relationship with each of them.

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We continue to be here for our young daughter to answer her questions and always be truthful.  We know that honesty in her story is what she needs to understand.  The truth isn’t always easy and we have learned in giving each of our girls a safe place to talk and ask questions, that they continue to seek us out at these times.

Open adoption is hard at times like being a family can be hard at times.  But the hard times do not outweigh the easy good times and we know we will make our way through this always truthful.

Day 15, #NaBloPoMo #BlogHer

Parenting as a parent in a family built through adoption

parenting

 

I’m just sitting here thinking when we started our journey to parenthood the things we had to do, autobiographical questions, thinking about ways to parent and how we would go about it.  So I sit here and remember a question I answered during our home study questions with no experience qualifying my parenting interpretation:

17. In what ways do you think adoptive parenting might differ from parenting a biological child?

In many ways, I hope that it will not differ too much from what I have seen with friends and family and their parenting. However, I know that we will need to be prepared to tell our child his/her story so that they may understand how they came to join our family. We are hoping with an open adoption to be able to support our child if he/she has problems identifying who they are with the open communication/contact to their birth parents. We expect to have questions and reactions from strangers and hope to gain the strength to deal with these through support groups and our belief in family.

And here we are now in 2015 with two beautiful daughters …

is parenting what we dreamed and thought it would be? well yes and no … I mean you never know what the job of being a parent is until you are there honestly, anything we thought we knew before went out the window when we were with our babies ..

As our girls are getting older and starting to put the pieces of our family’s story together and their adoptions, we sometimes wonder when they are quiet or their personality takes a different turn is it something about their adoption that is bothering them or is it just something else?

In our group of friends that have adopted too with children who are older than ours, we get a peek into what may be in store both developmentally and what may be adoption related. We can share stories too of what we have seen in our family to other friends with younger children. Not everyone will act the same but it gives us a window that helps us to be more aware of what an emotion coming at us may be related to besides our own intuition.

Is parenting in a family through adoption different from parenting a child you give birth to? I’d still say today the only differences I truly believe is the acute awareness you need of your child and their emotional state related to their adoption stories. We have an added level of awareness to be mindful of what may be going on in their minds that having given birth to a child you would not need. And it is our job to make sure our girls understand our family story and theirs. We have learned with our girls that we need to give them the emotional space for their feelings of loss and grief, of love and joy.  We give them a space to talk and ask questions.  We are comfortable with our family and how we were built through adoption.  It has been a part of our family conversations since the day each girl was entrusted to us.  Our comfort allows our girls the space to talk and ask whatever they come up with.  Sometimes these questions or conversations will happen at home sitting together and sometimes they happen while we are driving in the car.

Parenting in adoption also means that we allow our children the ability to develop and maintain independent relationships with each of their birth families.  We must give our girls the confidence to have these relationships like we do.

So we look back at our journey aware of what some of our job would be in making sure they each understand that as a family through adoption we are just an ordinary family that came together with each of their birth families to be a family.  We also know that we have the everyday parenting responsibilities that we must face, and we have kept up with reading parenting books giving us philosophies to work with as parents for our daughters. These are on top of what we have learned and what we continue to learn about children that are adopted.

Lastly I will say this is the hardest job I HAVE EVER HAD AND IT IS THE MOST REWARDING!

Are you a parent through adoption?  What has been your parenting experience?

My Day 7 #NaBloPoMo #BlogHer