Next Monday will mark the start of a national campaign in Finland called adoptionilo, the joy in adoption. If you’ve been following me, you know I don’t like to sugarcoat that adoption and loss go hand in hand. That’s why I have started the podcast Adoption Conversations in the first place, and I feel there’s value in sharing the struggles. However, there’s a value also in focusing on the joys of adoption. Concentrating only on the loss part is not what keeps you going as a parent in daily life. After a full year as an adoptive parent, that’s what I feel like sharing today.
Adoption completed our family
I gained a son. Only four words that mean an entire universe. I welcomed a new person, which I am supposed to nurture, teach to, love, like, listen to, and so much more. A little one who demanded everything from me, like children do. I am watching him grow. I witness him struggle with challenges and try, try, try, until he overcomes them. I observe him as he builds language, word my word, if not sillabe by sillabe, to communicate with me. To shout “I’m angry” or tell me I don’t need makeup to be beautiful (get ready girls, this one’s a player). To tell me how he feels and what he thinks. I helped him build that. I get to watch him sleep peacefully or calm him down if he’s having a nightmare (cursing between my teeth, sure, but also enjoying the exclusivity of being one of two only who can soothe him).
My daughter gained a brother. She was made to be a big sister. I can see how much she enjoys her brother’s company and complicity, and how much she’s learning from their relationship. He filled our lives. We were happy before he came, but cannot be happy without him anymore.
Adoption made me a supermom…
…by making me fail. Bad. I was already a mother when E joined our family. I was ready, right? Weaaaah. This may have happened with a natural child as well, but I have learned much more about parenting in the past year than in the previous four. As anything you conquer with sweat and blood, I am proud of my small achievements and more at peace with my limitations. It may sound illogical, but I feel much stronger now that I am aware of what I cannot or I don’t want to do. In addition, I feel now I am facing challenges most of my fellow parents simply do not understand, which in turns makes me feel entitled to mark as rubbish most of the advice I receive from them. It’s a bit sad and lonely, but also works miracles against mom guilt.
Adoption opened my eyes… and heart
Adoption originates from loss. I knew that, but I fully realised the depth of that after placement and after learning more about trauma. I have learned to place my joy side by side with this awareness. Before E came into my life, I had been lucky enough to never have to live with grief or, more in general, with anything I simply had to accept. I have always been a black or white kind of person and adoption forced me for the first time in my life to accept grey. I am grateful for that and I think it has made me a more complete human being.
Adoption enriched our family of one extra culture
Being a multicultural family already, we were aware of how crucial cultural heritage is. Traditions, food, language. Through adoption we welcomed a third culture into our family and we feel motivated to constantly learn about it. I am proud to call us an Italian-Finnish-Indian family!
Adoption presented me with challenges I didn’t see coming, but also changed me and my life in ways I’m grateful for. I feel it as privilege and a huge responsibility to be E’s mother. Flashback to few years ago, when we were torn in the waiting phase of the adoption process, and some cheeky ones asked us “why don’t you have another child yourselves instead?”. This. This is why.
If you want to read our adoption story, you can start from here. If you want to know more about adopting in Finland you can read:
International adoption in Finland, how does it work?
How I came to appreciate the Finnish adoption system
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