By Lori Holden
Lori Holden blogs about open adoption at WriteMindOpenHeart.com. Her articles have been published in Parenting and Adoptive Families magazines, and she writes for Examiner.com and MileHighMamas.com. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, daughter Tessa, 9, and son Reed, 7.
How I Embraced Open Adoption, May 4, 2010
Early in our adoption process, about the time we worked on our first adoption profile, I made the decision to not only accept but also love our story, warts and all. And looking back, I can see that every great spiritual lesson I’d learned previously helped me prepare to embrace open adoption.
A wise mentor once told me that being grown up means seeing things the way they are instead of how you wish they were. Once I became a parent, I had a conscious choice to make: I could lament the fact that I did not give birth to my children and that my DNA and my husband’s did not swim in their veins. Or, I could be ecstatic that my children were who they were. In other words, I could see my life in a way that made me sad and frustrated, or I could see my life in a way that made me fulfilled and happy.
This doesn’t mean that I wear rose-colored glasses or that I never let myself think about what isn’t. Instead, adoption—for both me and for my children—is about becoming whole, about the freedom to wonder, explore, question, and ultimately accept.
I do examine the feelings I have when I notice Tessa has a set of toes that look nothing like mine, or when Reed demonstrates an athletic talent that clearly didn’t come from me. I do consider what parenting them might be like if we shared common ancestry. Would I understand her learning styles better? His coping mechanisms?
But I don’t get stuck in these thoughts. I think them, feel them, release them. If the aphorism, “That which we resist persists,” commonly attributed to Carl Jung, is true, then I need to be able to think a scary thought or feel a scary emotion in order to release it. Otherwise, the scary thought or emotion has and builds power. Power over me.
I neutralize the scariness when I am able to allow the thoughts to move through me and not get stuck in me. And what’s more? I show my children that “icky” thoughts and feelings don’t have to be scary. In fact, they can be illuminating and, eventually, liberating.
I think to really open one’s self, adoptive families first need to overcome their own fears and insecurities and challenge their own assumptions.
Every spiritual avenue I’ve steeped myself in teaches that at each moment you can live from love or from fear. Fear comes from separation and from our false self, our ego. Love is rooted in abundance and is unlimited, originating from our true, divine nature.
A version of this story originally ran in the Fall 2010 issue of Conceive.
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