A friend pulled up a chair next to me and took a sip of her coffee. In the crowded employee break room, we would often solve world’s problems and attempt to solve each other’s.
“Do your think of yourself as an adoptive mom or mom?” she asked. I admitted that I write about or even talk about adoption related topics a lot, but I am really just a mom. There are times when I change how I approach things with my children or I wonder if something is adoption related or not. But overall, adoption was what we did, not who we are.
My friend was adopted as an infant. She has no records of her past or her family of origin. I didn’t know she was adopted as we began working together and there would have never been a reason to talk about it, other than she chose to share that with me. To her, adoption was something that happened a long time ago, but it doesn’t define her. She calls adoption “a piece of her identity puzzle and depending on the situation the piece may be bigger or smaller”.
My children are constantly reminded that they are (not were) adopted. Not by us, but those unfamiliar with adoption sensitive language. To them, adoption is an identity or something ongoing, not a one time event. I am an adoptive mom, my children are adopted children and our family is an adoptive family. To identify us with those terms keeps the act of adoption at the forefront instead of a part of our family’s history. We try to model proper language and drop the added “adoptive” word in front of the proper term; mom. I am Kofi’s mom, Joy is my daughter, we are a family. That’s how we view our family and we also hope that others would also.
Adoption is something that happens once, after that, it’s called parenting. It may have its unique challenges but it’s still parenting.
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