March into My Heart

Today’s Drip: Adoption Stories Convey Compassion

Recently, one of the faithful followers of my blog was kind enough to inform me about a series of adoption stories sponsored by The Huffington Post called “30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days,” a series designed to give a voice to people with widely varying adoption experiences, including birthparents, adoptees, adoptive parents, foster parents, waiting adoptive parents and others touched by adoption. In one of my recent posts, I stated how disappointed I was that the majority of adoptive parents have chosen not to share their experiences with others which might give them hope.  This was one of the reasons I started my blog and wrote the story of my adoption (to be published this spring).  So, I was delighted to read and appreciate many of the stories in this series.

The twenty-third day of the series featured a story that struck me passionately.  It’s called The Rare Relationship I Am Fortunate To Have With My Daughter: This Crazy, Wonderful, Hectic, Loving Open Adoption, Written by M .  A birthmother gives her perspective on her daughter’s upbringing by the adoptive parents.  An open adoption allows a relationship between the birthmother and the child, and in this case, the birthmother’s other children as well. I was touched by the healthy attitude of the birthmother who reassures herself and the reader that she made the right decision.  She also describes her daughter, who sounds about the same age as my adopted daughter, as a happy child who enjoys the experiences and advantages her adoptive family can provide, including the fact that her daughter now has braces and mine just got them this month as well. The annual visits she enjoys with her child, create an avenue for a future relationship as her child grows into an adult and celebrates life events she may want to share with her birthmother, as well as her own family.

Ten years ago, my daughter’s birthmother chose to move on with her life and family, leaving her daughter with me and my husband to give her all the love and care she needed, including two big brothers.  Had she chosen to stay in touch with us, I hope that she too would have felt confident about her decision, proud of her daughter, and grateful to our family. This story was heartwarming and poignant for me, and probably for any adoptive mother who wonders how a birthmother would feel years later about the incredibly difficult decision to give up a child to another family.

I encourage you all to take a look at the series of stories in The Huffington Post and read many of the courageous, compassionate, and sensitive stories it has to offer.

Today’s Drip: Heartache in the New Year

It seems almost impossible to move beyond this holiday season and start a new year while we leave behind those twenty angelic faces in Newtown, Connecticut.  I have spent many days wondering how anything so tragic could have happened and my emotional state has been seemingly changed forever. I have shed many tears as I have watched all the tributes on television over the past few weeks from comic (Saturday Night Live) to musical (The Voice) to sports events that one of the young victims would have been watching. Each of the tributes has struck me the same way; how can we possibly just move on with our lives?

I am glad to see that the media has not forgotten the tragedy as we begin the New Year.  As a parent, I wonder if the trauma from such a heinous act will endure.  For all parents who do the responsible thing each weekday morning sending our beloved children to school, the impact is huge. The assumption of safety has been stripped out of every school in America and has been replaced with vulnerability that may never be resolved. Teachers and administrators reaching out to communities with new security measures and lockdown procedures cannot possibly settle our nerves enough to forget the risk included in that kiss goodbye each morning. Who would have thought that anyone who wanted to be a teacher would be taking a life-threatening position that requires the skills of a security guard or police officer?

As we enjoy the advances in our technological world where we can communicate with anyone in the world in a matter of seconds, we also expand the threat of fame-hungry killers who only want to leave a legacy of devastation and sorrow. The massacre of the twenty children who represented everything good about life and the adults who tried to protect them flew around the world instantly causing every parent to question some of the most basic choices we make when raising our children. A psychotic killer who was unknown before December 14, 2012, will forever be remembered worldwide by name, by chilling picture, and of course, by his horrendous final acts. I only hope that our lawmakers will change the gun laws in the United States, which may help us sleep a bit better at night and worry less during the day.

As we start the New Year, we all think about those families who have been permanently scarred and wonder how they will ever recover from unimaginable loss. I imagine the grieving parents waking each morning to a dreadful reality that no longer includes the precious personalities we have been seeing and reading about since that sickening Friday afternoon. I ache for those parents who suddenly bring a whole new meaning to the term “ChildDrenched”. They may never fill the void left by the child they knew so well and for such a short time. I wonder if the phrase “time heals all” applies to an incident like this.

I find myself thinking about it several times a day and will probably never fully recover. The parents and families of those lost require a different kind of recovery and I hope they have felt the outpouring of emotion, support and condolences from across the nation. The sheer number of new petitions demanding more gun control lets us know that no one feels safe now. I know life includes heartache for everyone who has the capacity to love, but this tragedy has truly tested our faith in humanity. I hope we don’t lose faith in our schools, our teachers and those among us that care about human life. Sadly those that don’t have the same values often communicate in ways we cannot fathom.

As we learn about the victims, each of those twenty children represented joy and optimism. In the next few months, I will do my best to think of those children as leaving a legacy of hope for all the children that represent our future generation, including my own. It is that legacy alone that we should all choose to remember in the New Year.