It may be hard to imagine what a joy it is for a mother who once relinquished her child to adoption to finally hear their voice decades later. One such story that reached me today and was conveyed like this –
“I got the call I’ve waited on for almost 31 years. More so the past 2 years.
My Son called me! 💙💗
His voice was like that of someone I’ve always known. He sounded so familiar. Almost a 2 hour phone call. It was more than I ever imagined.💓
It may have taken a pandemic but it finally happened 🥰
And now I embark on this next rail of this roller coaster that has been my life. At least today I woke with a smile.”
Not every attempt at a reunion ends happy. Some mothers are so devastated that they have tried to block out all memories of the unhappy experience. They do not wish to remember what happened.
And in this time of isolating ourselves an in-person meeting may not be possible but I guarantee that someday this will all be in the past and while life may never look like it did before ever again, a new kind of normal will emerge.
An experience like the one I have shared is healing for both the mother and the adoptee when it goes so beautifully even with the complications of our current moment. Advice for entering into such a fragile beginning –
Understand your emotions will be very intense, this is normal.
Journal journal journal.
Cry cry cry.
Yet, try with all your might not to burden your child.
Ask for their permission before you do stuff.
Adoptees had no choice regarding what happened to them. If your relinquished child comes back, be grateful for such a blessing. Always be gentle towards both you and your child.
We are ALL being forced to live through perhaps one of the most extraordinary times in our collective generations history. It will certainly be long remembered and remarked upon. We can not see clearly where all of this disruption will leave our country and the world, much less our families and our selves.
It is crucial that we learn to manage the anxiety. I had to recently make a point to my own husband that his anxiety was not healthy for me. That if I had a heart attack I could end up in the place where I really don’t want to be at this time (though truth be told, I never want to end up there for that reason).
It is a moral and social responsibility incumbent upon each of us to do our best to minimize our own role in and help to curtail the spread of this contagion. We are all having to make adjustments and modifications to the way we would prefer to be living. We are having to give up those things we like to do best in favor of not doing much of anything that we can’t do in our very own homes.
This can be a challenge for anyone with children in their home. It is best to be truthful in an age appropriate manner. I heard a young child at the grocery store yesterday ask their mother, “why can’t I touch things ?” It is definitely a teaching moment and where day care is necessary for those who must continue to work – good hygiene and distancing can even be taught to young children.
So, I want to say to you today – It’s OK to be worried. It’s normal and it isn’t an overreaction. If that is how you feel, it’s your feelings. Feelings can’t be wrong.
It has helped in our family to have a plan. I am the most likely to become infected because I am the supply officer for my family. We are fortunate that we have always lived this way (though there are a few more inconveniences and necessary actions that weren’t necessary before). We have a home-based business and our children have always been educated at home. We have less to adapt to and we also live in sparsely populated rural wilderness. Not always an advantage but at the moment, one we are grateful for.
A hopeful adoptive parent is quoted as saying “Adoption is a beautiful way to grow a family because it takes great strength and sacrifice.”
What does that even mean ?
It is NOT the adoptive parents who make the sacrifices, even if they consider the financial impact on their lives of having adopted as some kind of sacrifice. Or if they think of their infertility – the giving up of having genetically related children – as some kind of sacrifice.
What do they sacrifice ? Most don’t even lose money because they crowed fund and stuff to raise money to adopt (yes, fundraising from strangers so you can adopt someone else’s baby is a thing). And even if a foster care adoption, they either get a “free” young child or if they adopt an older child or young child with issues. The adoptive parents receive money until the child(ren) is 18 to help offset the cost of raising them. People raising their biological child are not afforded that luxury.
You know who gets sacrificed ? The child.
And a sign of our current time ?
Social distancing is the default setting for ALL adoptees due to separation trauma. Consider it an insight into how it feels to be adopted.
If you as an adoptive parent need some kind of recognition for adopting a child, then you absolutely did it for the wrong reason.
If you are worried about continuing visits for your foster children with their original families, what can you do ?
For one – put masks on everyone, wash hands and faces, visit anyway.
If your agency can keep the visiting areas cleaned and no one is showing any symptoms – there should be no reason why such visits should be cancelled.
Of course, if anyone in the family is high risk, then it is only prudent to find another way to visit until everything blows over. Many families are staying in touch using easy to obtain technologies – zoom, skype or facetime.
Some visits have taken place in libraries but they may close. Division offices may not be able to support the volume of visits that would have to move there, if the library doesn’t remain open. Home visits could prove to be a logistical nightmare with all the rules and policies that are in place. Even public places like a fast food locations with play area may not be wise in light of the pandemic because their ability to keep areas clean enough may be lacking. There are even some public parks now closed to the public.
People who work in the medical field do suggest postponing in person visits until the potential impact is mitigated. Social isolation is key to limit the spread (especially for those persons who are at high risk for complications). The reality is a person can be asymptomatic and still be a carrier.
So again, the best suggestion for staying in touch at this time is video visits. No one should be going in and out of other people’s homes or apartments. You may not have symptoms but could still be contagious. The best way to protect the vulnerable in all of our communities is to self isolate as much as possible. We all have to do things – like shop for necessary items and food. In our family and many I know of – only one person is going to risk such exposure with the understanding they may become infected. This is the reality we are currently living through.
I would not want to see foster parents during this time use COVID19 as an excuse “in the best interest of the child” to limit reunification possibilities with the children’s original parents.