Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Adoption is Complicated

An open adoption, like the one that exists between our adopted son and his biological family, is a bit complicated.  It is complicated in that it brings unique challenges not normally found in families based solely on biology.  I must say however, it also brings some unique blessings.  

Well, we’ve got another potential challenge and blessing.  Dawson’s biological mother is pregnant and due to give birth to a baby boy the end of May.  Initially, she was considering adoption and had asked us to consider to again be the adoptive parents of the boy she’s carrying. She wasn’t sure what she would do. Over time, she chose to parent this child.  The excitement of becoming parents again gave way to the loss of another failed adoption.  From our perspective, it’s like a miscarriage – but a miscarriage where you actually watch the baby grow up.  With that grief acknowledged, we also need to share that we’re excited for her. We’re excited to watch her experience the joys of motherhood.  That little boy will never lack for love! 

For Erin and me, it’s another sinking sense of loss to which we’ve become all-too-acquainted.  We’ll work through it though, we’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.  But what we’ve never worked through is the complication this brings into Dawson’s life.  There is soon to be another human who is Dawson’s biological brother but not a part of his immediate family.  What is Dawson’s relationship to be with this little boy?  We’re just not yet sure. 

We know we want to avoid extremes.  For one, Dawson is geographically so close to his biological brother that his sense of identity could lose its equilibrium. He might wonder what his “real” family is.  We also want to avoid the extreme of keeping Dawson from knowing another person who shares his blood.  Honestly, it’s not likely that either of those extremes would become reality.  Both of those extremes are based in fear.  And I know, in my heart more so than my head, that fear is not the basis on which we should live.  

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." - 1 John 4:18

Dawson’s birth mother is a part of Dawson’s story, even though her part is still developing.  Even tonight, while pushing trucks across the couch, he repeated her name when he heard it.  We’ve always wanted Dawson to know her significance, to love her for who she is and to respect her decision to place him with parents who love him for the Divine gift that he is (writing that brings tears to my eyes).   Now there will be another character in Dawson’s story.  We don’t know how that boy’s role will develop nor do we know how the interaction between the two boys will develop.  There is no advance-script for this open adoption.  We’re trying to write the script out of love, even as we live out the complicated plotline. 

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