Looking Back Before Moving Forward

It’s typically a time of the year to reflect on everything that has happened during the last year. It’s always grounding to look back and reminisce on every moment that has stood out. Our local newspaper does this every year – the first 6 months in the issue before New Years and the last 6 month in the first issue published after New Years. It doesn’t matter whether our moments have been positive, negative, happy, sad, or a mix. Every moment we live through shapes us into the individuals that we are today.

I will probably continue to try and write a new blog every day. I learn so much doing this as I don’t constrain myself to repeating my own family’s story over and over again because that really would get boring not only for me but for any readers of my blog. I often share other stories related to adoption that I come across – usually excerpts with a link to the full article. Often I make personal comments within my blog that an article triggers me to think of.

So, yes it’s also a time to look towards the future. Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “New year, new me!” but I don’t perceive anything really new about me or anything truly new under the sun that might be shared in this blog. I never know however when someone may discover an old one in a google search or come across my blog in some random way, so I don’t really expect there will be any earth shattering changes in the content that I write about. Just pounding on many of the same points over and over again, to maybe reach someone who has become receptive to the way I am viewing adoption now – thanks to so much emotional labor shared on social media by adoptees and former foster care youth. I have NO New Year’s resolutions related to my own work here, which my daughter has referred to as my seeming mission. My goal remains trying to come up with something I have not written or shared before and to do so almost every day (I do occasionally miss one). I expect that I will just keep going because I am not ready to give it up yet.

Some foster children or newly adopted ones have been through a lot of trauma. It is reasonable to understand that the holidays may have a negative connotation for them, or they have nothing to relate enjoying a holiday to. One woman writes – I know for my adopted siblings, they were able to look at the first new year that they spent with us as a clean slate. They had lived a life that no child should live before and during foster care. Since we were planning to adopt them before my parents went to meet them, this was the first time that they had a sense of stability. I understand that this is a hard concept to grasp, especially for those who didn’t grow up in the system. Imagine not knowing where your next meal is coming from, who you’re going to be with, where you’re going to be, and if this foster family loves you and willingly keeps you. These thoughts are constantly nagging in the back of their heads, but now it’s like a breath of fresh air.

And so, to you who are foster parents, it may be difficult to not use language regarding the future of your foster kids. It is completely full of unknowns and can be scary for these kids. Put emphasis on the future they can expect with YOU. It may be helpful to reassure them that you will be there for them – while they’re in your home and that you will make sure that they are taken care of.

Acknowledging that some parts of today’s blog were assisted by – How to Celebrate New Years As a New Adoptive/Foster Family? by Emily Perez a stay-at-home mom with a BS in Elementary Education from Eastern Oregon University. When she was younger, her parents did foster care and adopted 5 children from all walks of life to become her siblings.

Finding Joy

Recently, a comment on this blog brought me into connection with an adoptee that blogs. Here is a link to her blog with a lot about what being an adoptee is like and other stuff as well. Finding Joy ……….. after Relinquishment (aka as adoption).

There is not one kind of adoptee but there are many emotions and feelings in common among them. I smile when she describes what her husband says being married to an adoptee is like – hugging a cactus – but then I grew up in the desert and I am fond of cactus plants.

She writes this 60 yr old adoptee is using this blog in an effort to work out who she is. She adds, “Many posts will be a response to something I have encountered that day, that has triggered me, and I am reflecting on it. I do not want to sound a victim, but this simple act by my Mother, at birth, has affected my whole life, and my relationship with people. So my aim and hope is to be able to share with my fellow adoptees, as well as those that chose to adopt, or those of you who work in this field, some insight into how we adoptees see the world.”

I am not an adoptee but the child of two adoptees who has learned a lot about all things related to adoption, spilling over into foster care and leaning into family preservation. I like to share adoptee and former foster youth’s book writing efforts since I am a writer and since I am a blogger I like to share the same effort utilizing the written word by adoptees who write a blog.

I have found Joy (yes, that is her name) to be a kind, gentle and thoughtful person. En-joy. Pun intended.