We were advised to begin explaining the concept of adoption to Julia even before she could understand. When she was about 3 she asked me if she drank milk from my boobies. “No, you had a bottle.” Time to start ‘splain’in!
We raised Julia with the idea that Marina, her birth mother, did the bravest, most loving, most unselfish thing by allowing her baby to be adopted by a childless couple who could love her AND give her a good life. Not that she had much of a choice. The decision was driven by poverty in the extreme.
But Julia has never – EVER – shown the slightest sign of resentment, sadness or abandonment. This is probably because we have diligently kept in touch with Marina. We have spoken to her on the phone (through an interpreter.) We support Marina and her family financially. We speak about Marina and her daughters (Julia’s sisters) as if they are family. Because they ARE family.
This mirrors the “open adoption” concept here in the US where birth mothers are given the option to stay in touch with their child, and adoptive parents are generally open to it. It’s still relatively new, but I’ve seen it work well in other domestic adoption families. Open adoption takes “shame” out of the equation. Which is exactly as it should be.
Our journey to Guatemala begins tomorrow. We will meet Marina and family on Wednesday. Next stop – Guatemala City for a reunion with the foster family!