Thursday, December 3, 2009

Introduction to What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective

Thanks to all of you who have called and emailed wanting to know when my book is hitting the market. All I can tell you is, "Soon! In time for holiday gifting." I'll let you know as soon as it's out. In the meantime, here's an excerpt from the introduction.

Adoptive parents don't love their children the same way biological parents do. That's an uncomfortable notion for a lot of people, but it's true. We don't love our children the same way. We can't. That's not who our children are. Our children come to us from someone else. They were conceived without our knowledge or participation. They lived in someone else's body, and the most important decision about their lives was made by someone else. Our children carry someone else with them into our hearts, and we love them differently because of it.

Adoptive families navigate emotional terrain that fully-biological families don't have to. As a young child I learned that babies are made in a special way between a man and a woman who love each other very much. Well, neither of my children was made that way. My husband and I have to figure out how to teach our children that sex is a sacred commitment between adults, knowing that some day they will realize they were conceived under very different circumstances.

Nothing about parenting is simple. All parents juggle their dreams, their instincts, and conventional wisdom, and in the end, most of us leap with faith. What's different for adoptive parents is that adoption adds an undercurrent to the parent-child relationship, and every decision we make passes through that current. Everything we think, everything we say, everything we do is nuanced by adoption. When our toddlers act out, when our adolescents experiment with new identities, when our adult children reject us, we experience all of that against the backdrop of adoption. We analyze all of that within the context of what we know and don't know about our childrens' birth families, and we wonder about the long-term effects of adoption on our children. We wonder if we are enough.

Right now, our daughter is perfectly at peace about having grown in her birth mother's tummy until she was ready for us to bring her home. I'm not looking forward to the day she realizes that before we became her parents, her birth parents made the decision to place her for adoption. In the most basic sense, she was in fact rejected from one life before being accepted into another. That's a tough reality for a lot of adoptees. It's also a tough reality for a lot of adoptive parents.

What I Want My Adopted Child to Know is a book adoptive parents can give to their child and say, 'I know adoption is painful, unsettling, joyous, and affirming. It's that way for me too. More than anything, adoption is the way we came together, and I'll always be grateful for that.'”

Wherever you find yourself among the pages of this book, I hope that What I Want My Adopted Child to Know makes your life different, just as adoption does.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
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