Did you know that November is National Adoption Awareness month? Before I started my journey to adopt, I had no idea. I don’t remember growing up and hearing people talk about it, preach about it, etc. We, as a Christian people, have failed in our mission laid out for us in James 1:27. We are called to help the widow and the orphan. Do you and your family do anything special the month of November to celebrate and help the orphan? If so, what do you do? How have you used this months awareness to show your children the beauty and the need of adoption?
This month it is my goal to write several short posts about the joys and the trials of adoption. I want to use this platform to help those of you who take the time to follow my blog, understand more deeply what adoption means and is. We have probably all seen the videos of “gotcha days,” on youtube or facebook. The truth is there is so much more to adoption than what you see in those beautiful moments.
The first thing I want to raise awareness to is that for the adoptive family and child, this has been a LONG TIME COMING! They have spent countless days and hours signing papers, sending fee payments, getting psych evals done (which are a journey in and of itself!), defending their call to adopt, worrying about why things keep going wrong around them, etc. Let me tell you, Satan HATES adoption! So those of us in the depths of this journey know all about the “adoption curse.” But love prevails and in the end of these struggles, our kiddos do come home!
While adoption is a wonderful gift and blessing for all involved, it is also a huge trauma and loss. Every child belongs in a family, especially their birth family if at all right and possible. When it is not, adoption is a beautiful thing. But with that comes the weight of that childs (ren) loss. I ask you to keep that in mind when friends/family are bringing children home to their forever families.
There will be many beautiful moments of bonding and loving. Moments of learning how to be loved. So often our kiddos come from a place where they receive little affection or an inappropriate kind of affection. All of the loss these kiddos have experienced affect them. Think about it, these strangers suddenly show up one day and call themselves mommy and/or daddy. They remove that child from the one place they see or know as home, where they belong.
There is great loss for a child when they are adopted. I am only learning as I go here, but I have witnessed this with many close friends and their kiddos. Again, adoption is a wonderful thing! I am just asking you to be aware that underneath the joy and excitement of finally coming home, there is a level where only time and love can create a bond that will be lasting and effective. These kiddos have to learn what it is to have a mommy and daddy. They have to learn that they are always going to be there. These kids need the space and time to see that mommy and daddy are here for good, they don’t come and go as the adult volunteers may have at their orphanage.
In the adoption world, we call this period of time, “cocooning.” If you want to read about it, this is a good article to read: Cocooning-Lifeline Article. Basically, it is a time for adoption families to settle down at home and learn the new normal. It is a time for the new little one to learn what it means to have parents. It’s a time set aside from the chaos of life, for the family to learn each other more. This period does look different for each family. Some don’t even feel a need to withdraw for a period, while others may take weeks or even months, to step away and be alone together. This is generally a period where friends and family don’t come over to visit, they wouldn’t go to any big gatherings or events, etc.
While it may be hard for friends/relatives to accept or understand, I encourage you to research it. Come to understand it. Follow it. Let these little ones learn to depend solely on their new parents. While you would be excited to meet and bond with this new family member, you have to realize that the parents have sometimes spent years to get to this point. They’ve spent years looking at a photo or video of a child they call their own, and now they need the time alone to make that a reality. Don’t worry, you will have your time to get to know them, they are family now!
Again, I am only learning these things as I go. I have been reading and researching for over two years on this topic alone. I am sure once my little is here it will be made even more real to me. So, I may not word everything 100% accurately or my view may be different once my little is here, but at least it may help you to start looking at adoption in its entirety. That is my hope. I hope through my pondering that I am able to spark and desire to raise awareness for adoption and how we can each play our part.
Blessings to you and yours!