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.

45459_original

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

Advertisements

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

 

and the beat goes on …

fall mantle

We are already three days into the Fall season, the daily beat of our lives rolls one day into the next. Leaves are beginning to turn and our annual Indian summer weather is at its peak.

Our girls have been back into their school routine for a month now.  It is hard to believe our summer break has already been over that long. Our oldest daughter is now a 4th grader and our youngest a 2nd grader.

There have been some fits and starts to this school year. Homework from the first day of school proved to create anger and frustration for our youngest.  The class was working on the story Chrysanthemum the young mouse learning about her name.  What could the anger be towards such a sweet story?  Well our youngest wasn’t sure she wanted to share her story about how she got her name.  You see her birth mom, my husband and I all worked together in naming her and she didn’t want to share her whole story.  We talked about what she was angry and frustrated about this homework assignment. She shared she didn’t want to tell her whole story she didn’t want everyone to know our family story.  We assured her that was ok.  We reminded her how we all came up with her name sharing the name definitions that helped us to choose the names she has. This seemed to make her brighten knowing the whole story but also there was a part she could share that was appropriate for her class mates.

As our younger daughter seemed to struggle with who and what to share about our family story this year, our older daughter was struggling with a bully in her classroom and for a second year being in a classroom without any of her friends.  The bullying began during summer on swim team and just our luck this girl was part of this years’ class.  As the school year started up, a new student at school started to harass our daughter and now she had to deal with two who were in her class day in and day out.  We tried to give her the tools to find her strength to walk away, say stop or whatever was needed as an incident occurred.  At the same time, I was in contact with the school principal and her teacher.  The principal didn’t seem to understand the enormity of this trifecta, being alone and isolated, and 2 bullies in her classroom.  Her teacher shared that she wouldn’t allow bullying but you know what? it isn’t always going to be in her classroom for her to stop.  What is the emotional toll day in and day out for my daughter to be in this class?  We are here to support our daughter, I am at the school helping in the classroom, and we have given her an emotional safe place to talk about what’s going on.  I see her sadness and it breaks my heart. I am still working on correcting this with the district and school principal.  I’ve been through this too and survived it alone and I can share this with her and hope together we can find her strength to make her way through.

I never knew the full extent of how our parenting would have an effect on our girls.  What I am sure about, is my being a stay-at-home mom is helping to know what’s going on at school for our girls and be aware of their daily lives.

With the start-up of school was the return of Fall soccer, Girl Scouts and our continued dance in ballet.  Our schedules after school are full and tight.  Friday is the only day without a practice or dance class.  We have managed to find our new balance for our activities so far but the tipping point could be the start-up of Sunday rehearsals for the Christmas ballet that both of our girls will be performing in this year.

While our girls have returned to school, I have signed on to work at our school as a substitute (as needed) lunch & yard duty person.  Right after I submitted my paperwork to the district our school needed me so M-F from 11:30-1:30 PM you will find me at school fulfilling my role.  My end date right now is in mid-October.  The extra bit of cash will be nice and I like that the job is not always 5 days every week.

Now the days are shorter with dark coming before 8 pm, our schedules are full with homework, soccer, dance, girl scouts and we are full swing into Fall.  It is at our nightly dinners we talk about our day.

How is your Fall starting?

Near the end of summer break

490517144_0057d34050_z

It’s been awhile since I posted and I realized today as I sat her to think there are only 7 more days left in my girls summer break from school …

We have had an action packed time from swim team, ballet, birthday celebrations for each of them, girl scout day camp and travelling to birth family and family.

Our summer started with my oldest needing to learn the definition of disrespect. Preadolescence is a hard time as she tries to find her footing and I (we) try to parent her. This is all coupled with me going through menopause, fun times in our home cheers to mid-life mothering!

Family travel included our trip to Minnesota and visiting with and staying with my older daughter’s birth family.  We were so excited to stay and C’s sister’s home and really visit with everyone.  In addition to seeing and staying with her birth mother’s family we spent a great day with her birth father, his wife and her sister.  This visit came with some sadness for my younger daughter who was sad that it wasn’t her family we were with these days.  Our family cares for and loves our daughters equally so it wasn’t as if she was feeling lack of attention or love, but to her it was not being with her birth family that made her sad.  She and I talked and we discussed our family and our geography to each of our girls’ families.  J was born in CA and her birth family lives an hours’ drive away.  A was born in MN which requires to plan ahead for a visit both when C comes to visit and E or when we spend a part of our summer vacation visiting.  At seven she can understand that, but she was still sad that we weren’t visiting her family then and there.
During this summer, I felt a shift in my changes physically.  I had some challenges still being on the pill so took myself off a month ago which may or may not have been the best decision as I have been suffering more with my peri-menopausal symptoms.  I will be turning 52 in 3 months so I’m sure this is all part of the aging process.  This summer was my try at gluten-free eating and it has proved to be successful and I am happy to have tried and found the symptoms to go away.

The end of summer means a restart to our routine: alarm clock set, school, ballet, soccer, Girl Scouts.  I look forward to this but at the same time am sad that our more carefree days of summer break are nearly over.

How was your summer break?