What makes a Real Family?

the definition of real From the Free Dictionary:
re·al 1 (rē′əl, rēl)
adj.

a. Being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verifiable existence: real objects; a real illness.
b. True and actual; not imaginary, alleged, or ideal: real people, not ghosts; a film based on real life.

what-is-real4 (1)

The question what makes a REAL family? seems to infer that we are not actually REAL in our children’s lives.  Our daughter’s each have two REAL families that are part of their lives and love them.

Why do people ask REAL? I’ve been approached and asked in conversation when it is known our family was built through adoption if our girls know their REAL mom? My first thought is that I am as REAL as it gets and then I reply yes in fact they do know and have a relationship with their birth moms and their families. Another question that comes up often is asking if they are REAL sisters? Yes they are, not by blood but through our family they are sisters.

This is when you can decide to educate or walk away. I usually take the effort to educate. I’m not offended when asked this question, it is not asked with malice but more of ignorance on how a family lives in an open adoption. Not everyone is experienced in this. They don’t necessarily know the terminology or quite frankly how it all works. As common as I think our family is in our world, not everyone knows a family like ours.

We are a REAL family ALL of us, we are as REAL as it gets and I am thankful that we are all intertwined as family together with our girls. From our girls’ great grandparents through their siblings from their birth family through to each of our families and each other. The love that surrounds our girls is REAL too and that’s how we like it!

Ask our girls, we, my husband and I, are REAL REAL too!

This my 10th post for National Blog Posting Month, please click #NaBloPoMo to read posts from the many other bloggers participating, Enjoy!

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Thankful for emotional comfort

Thankful for the emotional space we have given both of our girls to talk about and share anything that comes to mind … recently our youngest told my husband how much she loves him, loves her family, her birth mother and all and how she was so thankful that S chose us to be her Mommy & Daddy, made us both teary.

IMG_1959

Each of our girl’s adoption is a part of our conversation whether spoken or thought.  It is something we have been telling our girls since the day they each were born.  My husband wrote a song/lullaby for each girl that tells their story.  Extending our family with each of their family keeps the story of how our family came to be a present part of our everyday lives.

It can be something as simple when our girls were younger as they’re holding a baby doll and telling us they had adopted him or her.  Telling us when they get older they will adopt children to their family.

As our girls have grown their understanding of our family’s story has grown.  Since it is part of our normal family dialogue it is not unusual for a conversation to start from nowhere, usually while driving somewhere in the car.

There have been times when spending a day or trip with their family that the emotions boil up near the end of the visit/trip.  We have allowed this emotion to start a conversation to give them words to the feelings they are having.  Are you sad because C is leaving?  Are you upset because our time together is over for today?  It’s okay to feel sad or be upset, when we love someone and our time together ends it’s okay to feel sad or even mad.

We know for all of us it is important to let the conversation be had whether it’s one that is sad or happy.

This is my Day 8 for National Blog Posting Month, please click NaBloPoMo to read the many other bloggers participating in this BlogHer event, Enjoy!

Thankful for family

thanks·giv·ing (thngks-gvng)
noun
1. An act of giving thanks; an expression of gratitude, especially to God: a hymn of thanksgiving.
2. Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving Day.

grati·tude (grat′i tood′)
noun
1. a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received
2. thankfulness.

fate (fāt)
noun
1. the power or agency supposed to determine the outcome of events before they occur; destiny
2. a. something inevitable, supposedly determined by this power
b. what happens or has happened to a person or entity; lot;

family photo collage adoption

November and Thanksgiving especially brings out many emotions…thankfulness, gratefulness, love, happiness and gratitude. Have we always felt like this at the holidays? Does everyone feel the way we do now? I can think back to holidays when we were trying to have children and I am pretty sure we were not feeling much happiness and gratitude but what changed for us?

Back in 2005 we had come to a place of unknowns knowing that the one thing we wanted most was to be parents. After trying on our own and subsequently fertility treatments with no success it became for us about being “mom” & “dad” and not needing to be pregnant to get to there and realized adoption was the path we needed to take to become a family.

Our journey to parenthood was not the original one we planned but we see that this is how it was meant to be. Now here we are the proud parents of two beautiful girls! and now have a very large extended family that combined from each of our girl’s families!

All the twists and turns were made easier with the guidance of the wonderful professional, Ellen Roseman,  we worked with who helped to prepare us for the relationships we share with each of our girl’s birth mothers, birth father’s and their extended families. We know that our children cannot have too many people in their lives who love them and it has been our blessing to have our family expanded so seamlessly.

So most especially at this time of year, we feel enormous LOVE and GRATITUDE for those who chose us to be parents. We realize their decisions demonstrate the true meaning of unconditional love and we will always share an important and unending bond with them.

We LOVE our girls unconditionally and are raising them to appreciate the selfless gift of adoption as much as we do.

There are many other bloggers participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Posting Month.  Click here #NaBloPoMo to read more, Enjoy!

and so the school year begins …

and so the school year begins here is an email sent to my younger daughter’s first grade teacher today.
 
 
Hello Ms. N,
 
J is currently working on her homework, all about me and it prompted me to write.  
 
I wanted to let you know in advance so you may have an understanding of what she is sharing. Our family was built through adoption.  Both of our girls were entrusted to us at birth and we have continued family relationships with their birth families including and not limited to their birth mothers, birth fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings.  
 
So on her page she has listed she has 2 brothers and 1 sister.  This is true and how she knows her family (her sister has 3 other sisters).  They each live with her birth family, one with her birth mother and the other with her birth father. We see them, have pictures of them, etc.
 
Our family has blended beautifully and J is choosing to share this.  She is at an age now when she can decide who she shares with.  If you think at any time I need to come to class and help explain how our family was built for the other students to understand, please let me know I’d be happy to read a book and talk about it with them.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thanks,