Friday, November 19, 2021

Celebrating NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH and Thanksgiving, with a reflection: 

I am a mom to a super kind, beautiful and intelligent kid because of the tough decision an incredible young woman made to give the baby growing inside of her a chance to live during an extremely tough period in her own life. It was a decision for which I will be eternally grateful and forever in awe. She could have easily made a decision that could have been kept secret and unknown to the rest of the world and gone on with her life instead of facing judgment, hard times, potential pregnancy risks, and everything else a young woman may face on her own with the additional challenges of pregnancy. It takes a special woman, a special mother, to make the decision she did and she not only blessed our son with life…she also blessed me with it as well. She always tells me, “I just want him to know I love him.” And he most certainly will. She has more than demonstrated that she does since our journey began back in 2019. 
I started talking to my son about his birth parents immediately when he came home, at just 6 weeks old. And not even necessarily for him, but for me… It helped me fumble through the awkwardness that comes with explaining the reality of adoption, to an adoptee, and the uneasiness that I have to overcome as an adoptive mom. And what better way to practice than to talk to someone who can’t really respond yet and will be a warm listener. During my training with Barker, prior to becoming approved to adopt, we discussed the significance of having age-appropriate conversations with your child about their adoption story. It was then that I realized it’s never too early to start. So, for my son, and for me, these conversations started on his first day home. We started with incorporating and speaking their names during our grace at mealtimes and our prayers at bedtime. Doing this has helped me to prepare for the day when the larger conversations become necessary and appropriate (still some years away for us, though, I’m ready). For now, he hears their names and that we are thankful for them and as he grows, he will learn more and more about why.
Open adoption is something that you may have to get your family and friends acclimated to. Draw lines when and where you need and don’t be ashamed to do so to protect your child’s narrative and their understanding of their own, extremely personal story. I didn’t understand this part as much as a prospective parent, but I do now, actively parenting. My son’s story is his to know before anyone else, and his to decide to tell, when, and if he wants to. Until he can make these decisions for himself, I will always be protecting him, his birth story, and his birth parents, and holding it with the utmost respect and love.
Patience and grace are HUGE parts of the adoption process and of parenting, and I’ve had a lot of learning and growing to do in this area. Not only by incorporating them more into my own behavior but recognizing and trusting them coming from others. Patience during this process is immeasurably important. The anxiety and uncertainty that comes with being a parent is unsettling at times, but I realized I had to trust the process and trust the professionals in my corner. (I’m sure my social worker for part of my process is chuckling to herself if she is reading this.) Trust that the time it takes is to ensure that you are able to meet the needs of the child with whom you are matched. 
Trust your village as they will step up in ways you never could’ve imagined. Also, trust yourself. And most importantly, trust your child. They will show you big and little affirmations along the way that you aren’t doing so bad as a parent after all.  
I truly could not have birthed a more perfect child for me. My son is more than I could have ever dreamed of. He is so patient with me and so forgiving of my stumbles. The unconditional love he shows me makes me want to do better every day as a mom and as a human being. Now that I am a mom and having so much fun at it with him, I catch myself saying, “Why did you wait so long?” But I quickly answer it by saying, “Because if I’d done this any sooner, he would not have been my son.” And that answers in every way and every reason why my path in life has gone as it has. 

I am so thankful this month and every month for every step of my adoption journey, my son’s birth parents, the Barker Adoption Foundation, my social workers, my son’s awesome cradle care families, my family, my friends, and most of all, my son, who makes me the happiest and PROUDEST MOM EVER, every day. I pray that the patience and grace that blessed my adoption journey will bless your lives with however adoption touches you. Thank you for offering me a chance to share a little of our story with you today! Happy Thanksgiving and HAPPY NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH!

Barker Parent