Thursday, April 15, 2010

Four Children of My Own

We've all heard the recent news about the Mother who sent her seven year old son back to his homeland of Russia because he was demonstrating unusual and violent behaviors. As you can imagine, I was appalled by this woman's actions, and then I was devastated to see that it had an immediate impact on international adoption and that it now threatens to delay or terminate the completion of adoptions that are currently in-process. I deeply feel the pain of those families, as we were one of those families on many different occasions.

The Joint Council on International Children's Services has issued a call to action, and I've put on my Mommy cape and am ready to fly. They have created the We Are The Truth campaign, and they named April 15th as the day to blog about your successful adoption experience to prove to the world that most adoption stories are success stories.

So here it is...

There aren't many people like me. In fact, I'm guessing that I may truly be one in a million, although I don't know the official statistic and wonder if it is even available. I am the mother of a blended family which was created by domestic adoption, birth, and international adoption. And I speak the truth.

Adoption is a unique journey and, after experiencing all aspects of it, I know that it is not for everyone. It's not for people who want to save the world, one child at a time. It's not for people who feel that their needs are more important than the Birthmother's needs. It's not for people who think that it is the next best thing to giving birth.

So what is it then? Adoption is loving, and respecting, and honoring all members of the triad. Adoption is opening your arms and making a child your own. Adoption is preparing for every bump in the road and every difficult conversation and every emotional breakdown so that - when it happens (and it will) - you have the tools that you'll need to make things better. Adoption is parenting.

We adopted Juliana and Kendra as infants through the domestic adoption process. We held Juliana in our arms minutes after her birth, and we arrived at Kendra's bassinet just one day after her early arrival. We had them both from the start, and you could say that the experience most mimicked actual childbirth - other than the pregnancy, of course. We even had medical ID bracelets at each hospital to prove that we were their parents. I fell in love with them from the second I saw their sweet faces and held them in my arms. I became their mother, because their Birthparents lovingly made a plan for them to join our family. Imagine being entrusted with such a huge responsibility. Jay and I were ready for that responsibility... and it's one that we will carry forever.

A couple of years after Kendra arrived, we tried IVF and I was blessed to become pregnant and give birth to Luke. I didn't need a birthchild, but I desperately wanted to experience pregnancy if my body could be coaxed into doing it. At one point during the pregnancy, I started to wonder if I would feel different about Luke. I kept convincing myself that I surely would not, but - one day - I owned it and accepted that I wouldn't truly know until he actually arrived. When that day finally came, I felt such joy and relief in knowing that the same feelings that I had for the girls were welling up in me for Luke. As clearly as he was my own, they were too.

And then we decided to adopt again... this time from Guatemala. The questions resurfaced as to how I would bond with a new little guy from a faraway place who not only had been born to another woman but had been raised for his first eight months by a Foster Mother. Surely this would feel different?

We learned of Will's arrival more than a month after his actual birthday and I didn't meet him for the first time until he was four months old but, when I held him in my arms, he was all mine. I grieved for him at the end of our visit until the day I returned to Guatemala to bring him home. I wore a symbol of him and his country around my neck every day that we were apart, and I physically ached for him. Our bond was instant and can never be broken. He too is my own.

We're not your typical family, this McFadyen tribe. We come from different places and even different cultures. We are varying shades of white and brown, and our personalities and temperaments and interests and abilities are all over the map. That said, we are family.

And so, when someone says: "Now you gave birth and adopted, right? Which one is your own?"
I say, with a smile on my face: "All of them. Can't you tell?"

Another successful adoption story. We Are The Truth!

God Bless all people who joined their families through adoption. God Bless their loving Birthparents. And God Bless all of the children who are waiting to come home to their forever families.

1 comment:

  1. That was a beautiful post about your beautiful family! We too are so blessed by adoption!