From the perspective of S. Denise Kullman, Mom and respite relief for IACD
“You might consider adoption,” our doctor said. That was 18 years ago. We had one biological child but had trouble with conception for years afterward. None of the fertility treatments had worked. And here we are today with three amazing teenagers. Each adoption was unique with different circumstances and adoption agencies.
Many Differences. One Family.
We support open adoptions when the relationship with the biological family is healthy and safe for our child. We also discuss adoption, birth families, race, and ethnicity candidly in our family. We celebrate our differences as well as our similarities—we all have brown eyes except Dad. Simone and Lexie were both born in Texas. Tyler and Simone both identify themselves as black because they have darker skin. Mom and Tyler both have Native American ancestors.
In our experiences—especially during adolescence—family plays a huge role in identity formation. Ms. Ginni D. Snodgrass, a post-adoption counselor, wrote:
“The research seems to be unanimous; a strong, secure, loving, honest and supportive family in which all members feel safe to explore their identity is necessary for the foundation of a sound identity. The secrecy in an adoptive family and the denial that the adoptive family is different builds dysfunction … social workers and insecure adoptive parents have structured a family relationship that is based on dishonesty, evasions and exploitation. To believe that good relationships will develop on such a foundation is unsound.”
Pretty strong words but I totally agree. Teenagers need a foundation of who they are and whose they are. If they don’t, the developmental stage of “fitting in” with their peers can lead to trouble.
Our family openness has aided in the development of our kids’ empathy and acceptance of others they meet. I think that’s a pretty good thing too. Of course, adoption is not for the faint of heart. We’ve definitely had our unique struggles. We love our open, diverse, big family. So, I’m making subtle suggestions to my loving husband that we just might have room for one more. At which point his eyes roll back in his head and he starts seizing. Maybe later?
What’s your adoption story? Please share with us!