Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

Every Mother's Day, I'm extra thankful for the many incredible mothers in my life. There are the usual suspects... my Mom, whom I call every day and who (for better or worse!) is largely responsible for how this daughter of hers turned out. Then there are my grandmothers - one, called to heaven too early but who is still a big influence in my life, the other a usually gentle but occasionally spunky 94 year old. I think of my sisters in law, my mother in law... these mothers who raised or are raising some of the people I hold dearest in my life.

And then, ever year since his birth and adoption, and every day in between, there is Noah's birth mother. Although our adoption is closed, we remain connected to her.

This Mother's Day is no different, and we send up warm wishes and love and prayers that things are going well in her life and that she isn't worried or wondering too much about the son she placed years ago. He is loved. He is safe.

This Mother's Day, new thoughts are swirling for a woman I know and love who is making an incredible plan for her baby.

Happy first Mother's Day, Momma to be. Whatever course your plan takes, I am here with you in celebration and love.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Transracial in Training

In my AFABC bubble, I often forget that average Joe's impressions and ideas about adoption can be very different than my own.  This weekend, standing across from the 3rd baseline, I got chatting with one of the other parents. The usual question of "how many kids do you have?" is easy enough to answer. For the moment, we have one. 

But this parent asked "so does Noah have siblings?" and for this question, I had to weigh how I would answer. Because YES Noah does have siblings, but NO, I don't want to talk about his birth family and how choices, circumstances, and fate led each child to a different family to be raised in. 

At work, and at adoption events, or when Noah feels like talking, we love this conversation. But sometimes we don't want to share it all.... at least, not on the edge of the baseball diamond, and not when I haven't done more than exchange first names and dutifully greeted a hyper labradoodle. 

Often strangers get a Coles Notes version. I say "yes Noah is the youngest" and sometimes share that he sees his half brother who lives with his adoptive family about an hour away. That inevitably leads to "OH! So Noah is adopted?" and further questions - typically of genuine interest, or because they, too have an adoption connection they'd like to share. 

This weekend, the parent's voice dropped to a whisper even the labradoodle might have trouble hearing. "Oh, are you going to tell Noah he's adopted?"

Textbook teachable adoption moment on the sidelines? You bet!

I smiled at question and laughed a little, "Well, it would be a little hard to explain his brother if we didn't!" to which the parent conceded "Oh, yah, I guess." I ventured a little further, since the mood was still chatty, "The general feeling these days is that the sooner kids know the better. Then it's normal and part of life from day one." 

The inning ended and the conversation ran its course. I was really grateful for the "practice run" at this conversation. Up until now, our adoptive family hasn't been a visible one. We are two pasty Anglo-Irish parents with a freckled face little boy. Soon we'll be welcoming a second child, and this adoption will be transracial. 

No more luxury of deciding when or if to talk about adoption... it's going to be part of our daily life whenever anyone decides to ask how the four of us came to be a family. I'm grateful for the 'training run' and the honour and privilege of being trusted with another incredible gift. So when we're back on the baseball field next summer, I'll know exactly what to say.