What It’s Like to be Adopted

November 4th, 2011

By Billy Kaplan, LCSW – HCC President & Clinical Director, and friend

“Dear your Honor,

I really want to meet with you! My mom said you are so so nice!  I am 9 years old! I have been living with my dad and mom for over 4 years! I am so so so ready for this big situation! I think it is big and I regret that I am nervis! But I LOVE my family very very much! I am scared about being adopted! I know that you have gotten a lot of people adopted befor!  So I know you are ready for me. 

Love, Me”

Need I say more?

After years of uncertainty, permanency will arrive for this young girl, her sister, and her parents after they soon stand before the judge and say, “We do.”  They’ve been through the storms of child-protection-decision-making, birth-parent-ambiguity, tug-of-war-between-foster-homes, and trauma-behavioral-emotional-solar-flares – and yet, they live not only to tell the tale, but to have engaged in tremendous healing thanks to the tireless, ceaseless, exhausting efforts of their soon-to-be adoptive parents, who make me feel like a slug.

What an honor, and a pleasure, to witness this “official” becoming of a family.  It’s only “official”, of course – this family has been a family for over four years now.  I REJOICE because, finally, the state will come recognize the status that anyone with open eyes could see: a warm, loving, complex association of adults and children: just another family.

And this kid, this amazing kid; I had simply asked what she wanted to tell the judge and… voila, shear eloquence which so well expresses the vagueness in our children of their adoption.  Of COURSE they’re not sure: they love their adoptive family, and worry about (anticipate) losing that love, and agonize about being disloyal to their birth parents because they love their adoptive parents, and are angry with their birth parents for abandoning them, and love their birth parents because they’re their birth parents, and are angry with their adoptive parents for loving them and making them feel unfaithful to their birth parents and…. Adoption is SO complex.

Thank you, dear one, for reminding us what it’s like to be adopted.