Okay. It really is National Adoption Day. But it’s also my (older) parented son’s birthday. Today he turns two. And while I recognize the importance of children from foster care being granted permanent families, I’m kind of grumpy that the two days are falling upon one another. So, after this post, I will emotionally boycott any thought of adoption for the rest of the day.
You see, adoption isn’t this big celebratory thing for me. Or for my family. I lost a daughter. My Mom and Dad lost a granddaughter. My brother lost a niece. My sons, one of whom is on a sugar high already today, lost a sister. And today, even though my heart rejoices that children are getting the chance to live their lives with families who can and will take care of them, my heart thinks about those family members who are also losing out today.
It’s true that many mothers and fathers who have had their children removed by state care can’t or won’t recognize their losses until it’s too late. However, these children have other family members, too. For whatever reason, grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles (and so on) couldn’t parent these children. Age and income are often a factor. And while the system tries to work hard to keep siblings in contact with one another, it just doesn’t always work like that.
Again, I rejoice with the children that are entering permanent homes. I feel the joy of their new families and I respect that joy. But my heart also goes out to those biological relatives who are feeling the sting of loss today, whether it was their fault (as in the case of parents who lost custody) or not (as in the case of uncles who may never see their nephew or niece again). I feel, regarding the situation, like I often do on birthdays and holidays in our own home. I can celebrate what’s going on, like my son’s birthday (compared to foster kids being adopted) but my heart breaks for what is missing, like my daughter’s presence (compared to what biological families are losing today). Again, it’s that dang empathy. Gets me every time.
I hope everyone has a nice National Adoption Day. I’m going to go have (my son’s) cake. And eat it, too.