I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friends come and go but siblings...

will always be related. That never changes and, for two of my children, when the ink on the adoption decree was dry it was set in stone for a new family connection.

One of the reasons that we do what we do is that we want to foster a deep friendship and respect amongst our children. Things like homeschooling, watching the kids sports events as a family, having a family day where we only do things together as a family rather than play out front with friends. Friends are important and we foster that too but there is something more long term about family. I do have a few friends that I have had for decades and they are important to me but my family relationships go deeper. We have the history of almost two decades living together and sharing experiences. Our perspectives of the same experiences are as varied as people in the world and that fascinates me. Those perspectives are shaped by personalities and individual experiences.

We also have adopted children in our immediate and extended families. I think it takes even more time and effort to solidify those relationships. They don't have the "blood connection" that seems to provide the instant bond that exists for a lot of families. We work hard at making opportunities for highlighting the importance of our family relationships.

I know there are a lot of people out there who have broken relationships with their families and experience the most hurt from those people. I would venture to say that the hurt is so deep because the connection is so deep. Families are not perfect because people are not perfect. Our Father created the family, however, for a reason. You will hear many things around here that you would hear in lots of families. Things like...

"You have his nose."

"You have my eyes."

"Her hair is fine and brown like mine."

"She'll probably be tall like her daddy."

For our adopted kids we do point out similarities in pictures to their biological family and that is needed. A funny thing happened when the twins were four years old. We had a new baby in the house and were talking about who she looked like. Lil looked at Bub and told him that he has daddy's nose. I absolutely loved it. They were too young to understand genes but I loved how they knew they belonged. Physical differences aside, I also believe that it is important, in the here and now, to point out the manneristic similarites to the family they have been placed in and given. Connections run deep and the family connection is a highly valuable and essential one in the security, bond and attachment that our children feel and experience.

So in our house you will also hear things that are said around here with intention for those not related to us by blood. Things like...

"You do that just like I do!"

"You and I are so much alike when we..."

"Wow, God knew what he was doing when he put us in the same family."

"We are so much alike that if I didn't know better I would say that we have the same genes."

It is important for us as parents to nurture connection for both our biological and our adopted children. It can be subtle or obvious but it needs to be there. It is by no mistake that my adopted children are in this family and they know it.

"God setteth the solitary in families..." Psalms 68:6


Brooke said...

What a great post!

Anonymous said...

GREAT post!!!!

Lori in KY said...

Oh, how I love this post. We have 6 adopted littles in our family and I think you are RIGHT ON! Having had the privilege of knowing my kids' birthmoms, I am able to point out similarities that I see, and I can tell that they love that. Something about it fills up that question-mark-shaped-hole. And the comments about how well they fit in our family soothe those jagged edges. Adoption is so hard sometimes. Little things like this can help so much. Great post, Angie!