While driving to Red Robin on a date with my 9-year-old, I could tell he wasn’t his jolly self. I couldn’t quite read his expression and for fear of driving off the road while trying, I determined to wait until we stopped.
It was then that I could get a good look into his eyes. “What’s wrong, buddy?” I asked. You see, we had been discussing adoption and his birth parents a little bit before.
He looked away, leaned into the side of the car and the tears spilled out.
Adoption starts with loss. This child came to us as a scared and quiet 3-year-old who has bloomed and blossomed into a vivacious 9-year-old. He tends to hold a lot in, and yet there are times when it just spills out.
A little later, we walked into Red Robin but I couldn’t quite get the sparkle back in my boy’s eye and so I asked him if he wanted to sit on my lap. He quickly obliged.
I still have occasional contact with his birth mom, so I pulled up some old texts and started showing him pictures. Sadly, he doesn’t remember her, and yet there is still loss. He told me he loved her so much and I was able to share that with her.
It made her day and his. Talking through the pain, jumping right into it and giving him an outlet to share his love brought the sparkle back into his eyes.
I was also able to reengage in his birth mom’s life and encourage her. This won’t be the case with all of our kids’ birth parents, but in those cases, I can still sit in the loss with my little ones. I can let them know it is okay to hurt and grieve. I can show them it does not threaten me, but rather is an honor to walk this journey with them.
Adoption is a beautiful gift but it comes with loss. I want my kids to know they can come to me with their questions and feelings, raw and unfiltered.
My God says the same to me. I don’t have to process alone. I do not have to say the right things or feel the right things. He is my Father. My adoptive Daddy and He opens his arms, looks right in my eyes and says, “What is it, babe? What are you feeling? I’m here.”
Jami is the founder and Executive Director of The Forgotten Initiative. Jami and her husband, Clint, are parents to seven children: two biological daughters, two sons adopted internationally (Guatemala and Uganda) and a sibling set of three (two boys and a girl) adopted from foster care. Jami shared often on her blog, Life with a Personal God, during her family’s adoption and foster care journeys, and she is now sharing them here in hopes of being an encouragement to you!