The holidays are a treasured time for me - a time to let go of pressures and deadlines, to relax and enjoy. A getaway.

This year, like every other since our children arrived, the holidays became a time to be a family - not an adoptive family, just a family. For several blessed weeks, my thoughts focused on just being with my husband and children. No thoughts of adoption, no thoughts of what the future might bring, no worries.

It took no time to forget. From the moment I gave myself permission to let it all go, the thought of adoption didn't cross my mind until we returned from our family visit and life returned to its normal pace. I had flipped a switch and turned it off, just like that. As the thoughts slowly crept back, one by one, I pushed them away, not wanting the interlude to come to an end.

And honestly, if I had wanted to, I could have kept those thoughts away permanently.

I experience adoption's losses second-hand. Although I recognize that my children live with loss on the front lines, as do their first parents, I can only sympathize, not empathize. They don't have the luxury of being able to turn it on and off as I do. We adoptive parents can flip that switch any time we choose, and we often do, because we believe that pushing thoughts of loss and pain out of our lives is the best way to ensure a happy family.

I think there's a more honest approach, though: to acknowledge the losses and respect them as part of the entire adoption experience. To recognize that they can coexist with happiness and satisfaction and the myriad of other emotions we feel. To accept them as one of the many facets that make up our lives.

So I flip the switch, and the thoughts of adoption and its losses come back. Unwelcome though they may be, they're part of my children's reality, their first parents' reality. And, if only from the sidelines, mine.


GreenFertility said…
Hey Margie,

This is a very moving post and it's funny that that's your "treat" not having to think about adoption for a week!

I wonder, too, if there are a lot of parents who never flip the switch at all. There's some earlier post of yours that made me think of this; Madonna is doing it most publicly, but there's this whole thing about international adoption at once being seen as saintly and the aspect of "and the kid will be all miiiiiiiiiiiiine!!!"

I'm not an adoptive parent, but I have heard this sentiment as a motivation (okay, not QUITE put that way) but the whole specter of the birthparent coming back to snatch the kid. The funny thing is, even with biological kids, they aren't really "yours" either, at the risk of sounding a bit Oprah. They also just come into your lives and you need to do the best you can...

Gwen said…
Hi-Thanks for the sweet comments on my blog! I always enjoy reading the thought provoking things you write about.

I know what you mean about taking a break from thinking about adoption. I have been doing that as well.
Mom2One said…
Oh gosh, even when I consciously think "I'm taking a break from thinking about this; it's wearing me out!," it's there on the periphery. Darn it!! LOL!

For me, I just need balance. If I let the sadness bring me down into depression, that doesn't do me, or more importantly, my parenting, any good. So that's what any "breaks," if you can even call them that since I really can't truly get away from the thoughts and realities, are about. It's all about balance and health. For my son as well as for me.

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