Maintaining relationships with birth families is complicated. For us, it goes beyond the occasional visit and shared pictures. I want my kids to have family traditions with each of their families.
Family and love were foreign concepts for my daughter when I met her. She had been bounced around between unhealthy homes and shelters. She had experienced loss and hunger and absolute fear. She had no reason to suspect when she came here that our home would be any different. Even after our adoption, Alyssa would ask several times each day if I was still her mom. She does that less now but that fear of abandonment still rears its ugly head sometimes when she gets in trouble and she goes back to being the scared little girl who believes no one really wants her. In those moments she occasionally asks if I will still be her mom as if I might disappear while she takes a timeout in the corner. “Always and forever” I tell her. “No matter what you do, we are family and family is forever.”
We didn’t intend on a special needs adoption. We asked for healthy kids but epilepsy came hard and fast anyway and left our family reeling.
Let me tell you that it was awkward calling my husband to explain that I had attempted to run away from home but ran out of gas and now needed to be rescued. Luckily, he’s a good guy so he came right on down. Unluckily, we had no gas at the house.