Archive for the ‘Adoption Truths’ Category

When I first started researching adoption, reading people’s adoption blogs felt like touring the ideal American childhood.

Smiling photos were plastered across each page. Happy children posed with costumed characters at Disney World. Kiddies raced around playgrounds, romped with the family dog, splashed in swimming pools. Everything was gleaming and grinning and golden with sunshine.

It didn’t take much time to figure out that the idyllic veneer of these blogs was just that–an “idyll,” which in the literal Greek means a “little picture.”

A little picture appealing and full of charm, no doubt, but ultimately a mere glimpse of a much broader image.

Viewing page after page of flawlessly dressed, endlessly smiling tikes, I remember thinking to myself, “As much as I’d like to believe this, there has to be more to adopting than Disney World and happily ever after!”

Of course, this focus on the cute and cuddly aspects of family is hardly unique to adoptive families. Pretty much everyone tries to put their best feet forward, to hold up glossy images of family life to the world around them. But the stakes are raised for adoptive parents. Especially for conspicuous adoptive families (like transracial families), the pressure to serve as a kind of goodwill ambassador for adoption weighs heavily on the family’s shoulders. After all, the vast majority of adoptive parents, even those who have experienced difficult adoptions, are still very much pro-adoption and don’t want to discourage others from adopting. Yet for those families considering adoption, it can feel frustrating when you seek information about potential problems from real-life adoptive parents and encounter only pictures of happy-shiny Mouseketeers.

However, I’m pleased to report that I’m finding more and more adoptive parents sharing both the good and the difficult aspects of adoption in a way that is still respectful of their children. So I wanted to link to a few of those folks today. Their honesty is refreshing and helpful, and I’m thankful to have stumbled across their websites.

  • Lisa at “A Bushel And A Peck” has written many excellent posts about growing attachment with her older adopted children. As she recommends, “If you want to adopt older children, be ready to lay down your pride and abandon yourself to love. It will be different than you think; better in some ways and much harder in others.” She describes both the “better” and the “harder” with grace, and I’ve learned a great deal from her willingness to share.
  • Despite the fact that my friend, Jenny (of Journey To My Ethiopian Twins!), has barely had time to unpack her suitcase upon her return from Ethiopia, she’s written some very helpful posts about life immediately after adopting. Particularly valuable to me is her description of her time in Ethiopia and what life with twin four-year-olds has been like for their first two weeks in America.
  • Jillian (at …rooted in love) adopted two older boys from Ethiopia, and her list of what she didn’t know before adopting (versus what she’s learned now) is enlightening, courageous, and honest to the core.
  • CoffeeMom (at Another Espresso Please) recently adopted an older daughter from Ethiopia and records their family’s first steps on their attachment journey with simple eloquence.

So my gratitude goes out to all these adoptive families willing to share their stories. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of the big picture of adoptive family life beyond the little picture of Disney World bliss.

Photos from lyng883 and ShaSu.


Read Full Post »