Monday, February 16, 2015

Dear Birth Parents

I have spent lots of time reflecting on this article from the Huffington Post.  If you haven't read the article, it talks about a woman who divorces her husband after he decides to keep their newborn son with Down Syndrome.  (You can also read the mother's side here.)

This article hits close to home as their story is set in Armenia, where our son was born.  There is little I know of our son's situation and how he came to be an orphan.  I know that he has been an orphan since birth.  I don't know how old Sam's birth parents were, whether he had siblings or how financially well-off they were.  I don't know much, but I am confident that the decision they made was very difficult for them.  I never had to make a decision whether to give my child up for adoption and I have never birthed a child with special needs.  

I refuse to shame or throw stones at this mother or Sam's birth parents.  Instead, I wish to reform the stigma around individuals with special needs and adoption.  It saddens me that these parents didn't have, or didn't feel they had, the resources to raise a child with down syndrome.  My prayer is that places like Reece's Rainbow didn't need to exist because all of our orphans had homes.  

I've been reading a great book called, In on it:  What adoption parents would like you to know about adoption by Elisabeth O'Toole.  One paragraph she wrote was very insightful and exactly how I have been feeling lately, "Expectant adoptive parents are often highly sensitive to the idea that they await someone else's loss in order to gain what they want so much.  In order to be parents, someone else has to release - to lose - a child."

I am grateful for Sam's birth parents.  I think of them often and pray for them daily.  I wish I knew them better so I could thank them for their son.  We recently just celebrated Sam's birthday 6,000 miles away.  My heart was heavy as I thought of how different that day must have been for Sam's birth parents.  

I want to end my entry with a letter I've written for Sam's birth parents.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

This is our last

As my family and I walked through the holidays I often used the phrase, "This is our last..."

This is our last Christmas without Sam
This is our last holiday being a family of three
This is our last New Year's kiss without Sam's lips
This is the last time we will have one child opening presents under the tree
This is the last Christmas Card with only one child's photo displayed
This is my last Christmas break sharing the TV with one child

While I enjoy the holidays and seeing all my family and friends -- this holiday was different.  It was difficult celebrating knowing all of my family members were not present.  It was hard knowing my baby boy was across the country spending his Christmas in an orphanage.  I felt very guilty and saddened that he wasn't with us.

I know that Sam is being taken care of and his basic needs are being met - I know that there are very worse places he could be.  However, the best place he could be is with his loving family.  

I imagine Sam singing "I'll be home for Christmas".  Next year, as a family of four, we will decorate the tree together and laugh as our Elf on the Shelf causes mischief in our home.  Next year, my son will experience the love of a family who celebrate his birth and the birth of Jesus Christ!

I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the lovelight gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams