The Talk: The first time I said the words “You’re adopted” to my son.

 *Disclaimer: not one of my lighter posts!

It happened. The conversation Jon and I knew was coming. The one that we’ve been preparing ourselves for. The one that wasn’t supposed to be any big deal- just a formality.

Magnus asked me why Moses had two mommas.

And before I knew what was happening, the adoption talk was spilling out of my mouth. The conversation that will be a key part to the foundation of how our 3 year old will view his story from here on out.

We talked about how babies grow in mommas’ tummies. That Elliott grew in my tummy and he grew in R’s tummy. And that sometimes first mommas and daddies aren’t able to take care of their tummy baby the way they wish they could. Enter second mommas and daddies. I explained that when he was born his Daddy and I brought him home and we get to take care of him and have him as our son. He got to hear that he’s not the only one, that Yuan Li had a momma and daddy that couldn’t take care of him the way they wished they could so we are going to be his parents, and he is going to become their brother.

And true to his trust in me as his Momma, and typical for his 20 second attention span, that was enough for him right now. And he immediately moved on to what was on the menu for breakfast.

And I’ve been wrecked ever since. It was NOT just a formality for me.

I love this little boy that made me a momma. I can’t imagine a life that he’s not my son. And I don’t want to. But I’m now painfully raw from my reawakened awareness of why adoption has to even be a thing. My heart is grieving for first mommas that don’t get to act in that role to one or more of their kids. I want to scoop up Magnus’ birth mom in a death grip and cry for her and over her. And I want to thank her a million times over again for trusting me w/ her firstborn son.

I’m simultaneously rejoicing and grieving for my boy who’s going to have very real, very deep questions of Why? Oh God, please give us the wisdom to answer those questions and to instill the confidence in Mags to never feel like he needs to hide them. To ask them w/ his dignity fully intact. That he knows adoption is a beautiful redemption plan for what could be a story viewed through a lens of shame and guilt.

But God changed all that in such a breathtakingly beautiful turn of events. His story is not a story of shame.

Magnus and his first mom

I want to take every woman and man, young and old, that has made the, out-of-this-world, difficult choice to place a child up for adoption and hold them firmly. I want to look them squarely in the eye and tell them from the absolute bottom of my gut- You are not forgotten. You are loved and appreciated w/ a fierceness that aches in the bones of your child’s adoptive parents. You have made a selfless decision that is part of your child’s legacy.

And your story is not a story of shame.

We have a beautiful relationship w/ Magnus’ birth family on both sides that I’m overwhelmingly grateful for. I had the privilege of being in the delivery room and holding onto our birth mom when Mags was born. I saw his first breath happen and have the sound of his very first cries etched into my brain for the rest of my life. Three days later, in a small, intimate ceremony, R placed him in our arms and told him we’re his Mom and Dad.

We’re now bringing a son into our family that, from what we can tell, spent 3 whole months w/ the momma that carried him, labored w/ him, brought him into the world, and met his every need for 12+ weeks. Then something happened. And whatever that something was changed the trajectory of Yuan Li’s life for the rest of his days. We have prayed for him to have favor w/ God and man from the day we said yes to adopting him, and God’s been answering that prayer years before we ever began speaking it. He’s been w/ wonderful foster families, rarely institutionalized, has excelled in school, and has had very few complications from his medical issues. But the depth of his emotional scars aren’t something we can read about in his file. We won’t be able to jump on Facebook and see what his mom and dad are up to that week. I won’t be able to show him pictures of them and point out that he got his eyes from his dad and his nose from his mom.

And I’m grieving over this.

I can say w/ certainty that God’ll give us grace and wisdom for the moment when Yuan Li begins to trust us w/ his questions and his wonderings. But I hope we have the courage to admit that sometimes we don’t know the answers he’s looking for. (When we’re in the thick of that, will you remind me of this?) That we live in a broken world. That we’re sad, too, for the same reasons he’s sad. And it’s my soul’s deepest plea that Yuan Li will have a relationship w/ God someday that gives him a ridiculous peace about always having those unanswered questions.

Do you have your stories of walking through this w/ your adopted kiddos? If you’re comfortable, please share! I’d love to hear them. There’s so much comfort in knowing others’ war stories when you’re getting ready to walk into your own.

-Sarah

One thought on “The Talk: The first time I said the words “You’re adopted” to my son.

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