The following excerpts are taken from "The Long Awaited Stork: A Guide to Parenting After Infertility" by Ellen Sarasohn Glazer
"Adoptive parents, their child, and their child's birthparents do, indeed, have a shared fate. Had any of them had their first choice in life, they would not be together in the adoption triangle."
I have been looking at this shared fate, or what I like to call "shared grief," as a nasty thing. It has actually been making me terrified to adopt. Honestly, I have felt that I might be an awful adoptive parent, because this wasn't my first choice, and because I would worry that my child would always want his/her "real" parents, and therefore always be unhappy. However, this book has allowed me to look at it in a new light. This "shared fate" can actually be a wonderful foundation for a family:
"When they are at odds, when the going gets rough, adoptive parents and children can hopefully find some comfort in feeling that they came together through fate. Unlike biological families, which are formed without question, adoptive families are usually the result of a great deal of pain and soul-searching."
Yes! What if, instead of fighting our feelings of shared grief and trying to deny it exists, we embrace it? Not to make the story of our family a sad one, but to make it an honest one? And when we are honest, we are able to share and have empathy for each other. That is a gift! When we can do this, maybe the relationships between adoptive parents and their children, and between first parents and adoptive parents, don't have to be so scary. Maybe we all have a different and deeper understanding of each other, if we allow ourselves to open our hearts to another's experience. A parent in this book writes:
"We came together after each of us had suffered an enormous loss. That we survived the loss and became a family is something we will always share and which, I believe, will help us stay close."
Out of the ashes of loss and shared grief, we can create a beautiful family, with all members of the triad welcome. I want to see the beauty at the other side of this, not just the pile of ashes that must bring us to this place. I'm going to keep working on this...