Monday, November 4, 2013

{Adoption} This is our story

The first-year teacher was discussing the life cycle of a mammal with a dozen first- and second-graders when she drew upon comparison to shield the bulk of the bird and the bees talk: “You know, like you were born from your mom.”

My daughter Cate decided to inform her class: “I wasn’t in my mom’s belly. I’m adopted.”

{This story is based on my daughter’s version. She tends to remember details, so I trust it is true.}

I’m sure she caught her 22-year-old teacher off guard. But that was that.

But the story said more to me. It made me thankful Cate recognizes her birth story is different than most of her friends yet she isn’t ashamed to share it. Being adopted is normal for her. These are the conversations we have regularly, each time revealing more details about her birth mom, our time with this young woman who helped us have a family, and her birth we witnessed.

Cate has been wanting to know more about the seven nights we spent in the hotel waiting for the interstate adoption paperwork to be approved by folks in Indianapolis and Frankfort, Ky. I showed her pictures of her birth mom for the first time on her 6th birthday earlier this year. It was the sweetest, most revealing adoption conversation we shared.

This topic is an ongoing dialogue around our house. About 2 1/2 years after Cate was born, our son was born. Ben wasn’t in my belly either, as Cate would tell you. But this is our family. This is our story.

Being aware and supporting
November is Adoption Awareness Month. There are other stories about hope and life. Some are like ours – domestic newborn adoptions. Others are older children through the state’s foster system. Some families choose to bring home children from other countries.

The National Council for Adoption estimates 18,000 or more U.S.-born infants are placed for adoption every year while another 8,500 adoptions involve international-born children. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau funds the National Adoption Month initiative each November through a partnership with AdoptUSKids and Child Welfare Information Gateway in hopes of encouraging permanent homes for the 104,000 kids in foster care nationally.

Supporting adoption doesn’t mean you have to actually adopt, but it may mean you invest financially, emotionally or physically into the lives of the family in the trenches waiting to bring a child home. Our friends and family are part of our adoption stories because we believe in community.

Adoption is our story
From the time they were just days old, strangers have told us how much Cate looks like me or Ben resembles my husband’s family. Sometimes we grin and nod. Other times we let them in on this story of ours.

My husband and I are raising a girl who remembers details and isn’t afraid to tell the truth along with a boy who embraces life to its fullest. We’re bringing up two of the best things God has ever done for us.

We may not be related by blood, but this is our family. Adoption is the story of how we became a family. It’s one I will tell over and over as long as someone listens. And now I’m glad to know my girl will tell it too.

A version of this originally appeared in Purchase Area Family Magazine's November issue. This is the second in a series of adoption posts this month. You can find them all here, as they are published throughout the month. And, don't worry, I'm going to share more about their stories and how they happened soon. 

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