For years, I felt ambivalence about becoming a parent, and worry that I wouldn’t be a “perfect” mother. In an open letter to my daughter, I look back on that moment of calm and utter clarity when we met.
Fifteen years into parenting in a transracial family, I thought I had heard it all—with appropriate comebacks at the ready—until an interaction with a racist (former) boss left me simply dumbfounded.
For years, my daughters’ birth mother dropped in and out of our lives as she battled a drug addiction. Now she is back in our lives, back in her own life, and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring for all of us.
We all imagine different ways our lives could have played out. For adoptees, these fantasies may seem particularly compelling: ‘What would my life have been like if I had not been adopted?’
The day we became a transracial adoptive family was the day we lost our anonymity in our community. We’ve learned to handle the extra attention with some advance prep before going public, some choice words, and some perspective.
As parents, our goal is to raise independent, self-sufficient human beings. But, truth be told, it hurts like a %$#* when you realize you’ve done your job.
My older son is off at college, and I’ve been heartened to see that his “new normal” includes a maturing and strengthening of the bond between us. I look back to the day I met him, just over eight years ago, and our years of attachment struggles, even as I look to his future, and ours, with hope.
Most prospective adoptive parents don’t get cards or baby showers, or even much excitement. It’s time to change that. Buying something for your hoped-for baby won’t ‘jinx’ your plan to adopt, and 11 more things I wish someone had told me during the wait.
Amazingly, the number one question we’re asked about being a foster family is: “Are you afraid of what they'll teach your children?” So, what have my kids learned? To start—to be open, generous, non-judgmental, thankful for their warm home….
When I adopted my two sons eight years ago, they couldn’t separate themselves fast enough from their “old” life in Brazil. As I prepared to visit my oldest son two months into his “new” college life—a lifetime for any freshman—I wondered to what extent he might have compartmentalized his now “old” family life.
I adopted my son as he was entering his teen years, and now, too soon, I have seen him off to college. How will his still tenuous attachment play out when I’m no longer a constant, physical presence in his life?
Isaac is 14 years old, but he’s six feet tall and almost two hundred pounds. He’s also black. He hasn’t been a discipline problem since the day he came home, but someone who doesn’t know him could see him as a threat. So what was I to do on a recent evening when he asked to bike home alone in the dark?
A trip to the doctor's office reminds me of the love inside my son's perfect heart.
Years ago, when my son and I were at the kitchen table, a work-related call interrupted our conversation. He said sadly, "Mom, you spend more time helping people have children than you do with your own."
From the start, silliness and laughter have bolstered the bond between my daughter and me.
I became a dad at age 50, and it changed my life in ways I never could have expected. It was the greatest gift.
After the divorce, my family felt incomplete. To find the missing piece, I traveled to a Russian orphanage, thousands of miles away.
Adoption kismet paired my moody, socially awkward self with an upbeat, sociable son who volunteers to wear his school mascot costume, runs for student council, and is unfazed by the thought of speaking in front of his whole school. Every day I am awed (and exhausted).
I don’t think about adoption on a daily basis; I am just a dad, after all. But when I do, it’s these moments that rise to the surface, indicative of so much else along the way.
As I sit in the pediatrician's waiting room, all of my parenting skills are called into question. Do I focus on disciplining or bonding with my daughter?