On Emotions and More Adoption, Belatedly

Every now and then, I find myself completely and utterly out of words.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve started at least ten drafts of blog posts. Normally, I just write them and post them. I don’t plan them or edit them or add to them; I just type away until I’m done. But the past two weeks have seen fits and starts of half-formed ideas, a tangle of political and social rants, emotional outpourings, and matter-of-fact recaps.

And I’ve been unable to get any further than those first few sentences. I’m just not sure what to say. I think that lately, I’ve been experiencing some disquieting emotions – the kind that aren’t necessarily bad or good but are profound and unquantifiable. I assume it’s yet another of those pesky growth points, the slipping away of adolescence and the uncomfortable emergence into adulthood.

***

Mike and I spoke on a panel for prospective adoptive parents on Saturday. We were both excited to do it, and I hope we were helpful to some of the parents. The focus for the group was more international adoption rather than domestic, and so I think we weren’t nearly as exciting as the other two panel members, two teenagers who’d been internationally adopted when they were young.

Regardless, it was kind of fun to be able to do that. I love that there are so many families who want children enough to go through the hassles of the adoption process and as I grow up, I love being able to lend my experiences to their information pool.

The parents asked good questions: does being adopted make Mike and I less close/closer/doesn’t matter? We answered doesn’t matter – we used to fight a lot and are now super close. They asked about naming. They asked about school. They asked us how we were told we were adopted and neither of us remember not knowing. There was never a sit-down discussion about it; it was just a fact.

Mike and I told them that if they work it in as a part of their children’s lives, adoption isn’t a scary thing or a big thing at all. They can start small and build on the explanation over the years. Mike made a really astute observation that I actually had never thought about – he talked about how the circumstances that prompt the adoption aren’t always the rosiest, and that when kids ask, to just tell them what’s age-appropriate and then elaborate later on.

We discussed the idea of open adoptions. I told them very honestly that I was filled with jealousy when Mike got to meet his birth father. I told them that as I age, the curiosity about who my father is only grows. We both agreed that sometimes open adoptions are the best thing, but that sometimes, they’re not right. And when they’re not right, it’s best to leave it alone.

I hope that they came away more sure of their plans to adopt. I know that they’ll all make great parents – we stressed honesty and transparency as the building blocks for great parenting. I think they’re right when they say that no matter how well you’ve prepared, you’re never really prepared.

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