Adoption Story: Part 6
So Tiago is our son. He came home that day on May 2nd 2009 and these last two years have been the best years of my life. I am not naive enough to think that all of the anxiety and issues that could be associated with this adoption ended the day that we got the call telling us Tiago’s birth mother had chosen us and we were going to be parents. There are a lot of things that parents of adopted children have to consider.
When do you tell them they are adopted?
What if they say things like, “you are not my mom.” How will I respond? What will that feel like?
What if he feels left out or awkward because Jude is biological and he is not?
What if he is self conscious about the fact that he is likely to be a foot taller than all of us short Beuerleins’s?
What if he is curious about his birth family?
etc. etc. etc………
I mean, I have heard some pretty interesting adoption stories. Some of them are beautiful and the most beautiful picture of true love, and some of them are heart wrenching stories of sadness. I know that there is no way to at this moment what my precious Tiago will struggle with. I also know that I love him more than anything and that that will never change no matter what challenges we may face.
We have already begun to answer some of the questions above. Starting from the day Tiago was born we started using the word “adopted”. We occasionally say things like, “We are so glad we adopted you.” or simply, “You are adopted.” Also, we specifically chose an open adoption so that Tiago would be able to be in relationship with his birth family. So far we have gotten together with his birthmother, her mom and stepdad, and her sister multiple times. Each time is always a little bit awkward mainly because there are all sorts of unspoken expectations on everyone’s part. I wonder if she is pleased with the way we have raised him, I wonder if she wants to hold him, if she approves of what we are feeding him, I wonder if she wants to talk about how she would do things if she was raising him. We typically just talk about all of his achievements and developments. When he got his teeth, what he has been doing in school. We tell her about his friends and how he loves choo-choo trains. The conversation is usually easy and we feel comfortable with them. There are just always so many unspoken things under the surface. I think that is probably true with most open adoptions.
We also, have chosen to be open with him that he has siblings. I understand that there are sometimes adoptions where it is either not possible or perhaps in extreme cases not in the child’s best interest to make them aware of these things (maybe). But for us, it just seems obvious. We have a domestic adoption and were provided with the info to contact the adoptive parents of his siblings. Last year Tiago got to meet his half brother and half sister. Unfortunately he was teething and in a super grumpy mood that day. Hopefully, we will be able to get together with them in the next few months and they can see him in his normal silly fun state. Tiago will not have to grow up wondering “do I have siblings that I don’t know about?…. what does my birth mother look like?… Is that woman over there that looks kinda like me possibly my birth mom?”
I guess this post is more of a ramble than anything, but it is just where we are at with all of these questions.
Today Tiago and I had a mommy-son date. We went to the farmer’s market, sat on a choo choo train, and went to a coffee shop. He had so much fun flipping through a car magazine and eating his oat bar. He really thought he was big stuff.
This post is in response to the Open Adoption Round Table Discussion. Click the link to check out responses from other families.