One of my fears with adoption was that, at 18, our kids would choose to return to their first families and leave us missing them. We talked about how scary that was, to be the parents who punish and make rules – how that doesn’t make us the fun parents or the friends, but it does mean we are fulfilling our promise to their original parents in giving these incredible kids everything we’ve got. We’re parenting the best way we know how, and if the kids hate us for it, so be it. We’re theirs forever, along with all the rest of their families.
I had an epiphany the other day, and realized that it’s not just adoptive parents who probably have that fear. All children grow up and decide whether to come home and live next-door to their parents, or visit on holidays, or move across the world. It made me view my own choices in a different light, and increased my respect for my parents due to them letting me go. They encouraged me to fulfill my dreams, even when that meant I wouldn’t always be present for family events.
More importantly, living as part of an adoptive family has shown me that our kids already have parents who miss them every day. Remy has been missing his family something fierce, and was so glad to get a visit! I was left holding a sobbing pile of feelings – one was upset it wasn’t her turn, one missed Remy before he closed the door, one thought daddy was leaving forever, and one got jostled in the meantime. So many feelings! And yet, we had an awesome weekend doing our usual activities and hanging out together – the ultimate luxury these days.
Really, none of us have a guarantee that our kids will have time for us when they are adults. We can hope to live with it however it lands, create traditions that hopefully will connect us for decades to come, and most importantly, love our kids as they are and encourage them to live the life that will be most fulfilling for them. Dave and I joke that “it’s not all about us”. Well, it isn’t. It’s all about them. And man! Am I glad all of us parents are in this together.