National Adoption Month – From Adoptive Mamma to First Time “Glamma”
We invite you to read SoulSpring Counselor Marie Labranche's story of how she gave a foster child her forever home. “God sets the lonely in families” -- Psalm 68:6
National Adoption Month
We at SoulSpring Counseling believe that every child deserves to grow up in a loving, nurturing, structured, and supportive family. We know and see firsthand the long-term effects of children who grow up in affectionless, abusive, parent-absent homes. We are committed to helping children, teens, and adults overcome histories of abandonment, abuse, and neglect.
Were you adopted into your family? If so, what was that experience like?
Did you spend time in foster care and “age out” of the system, never receiving your forever family? If so, what has that been like?
Are you thinking about adopting a child? What is motivating you to bring a child into your life? And what fears do you have?
Issues raised related to adoption
You know, all of us just want to be loved. All of us want a place to belong. Some of us don’t even belong to the parents that brought us into this world, through no fault of our own. Dysfunctional relationships wound. Loving relationships heal.
Many of us want to be parents and for whatever reason, our biology isn’t cooperating. Adoption of a child who needs and desires a forever family can be a very healing experience both for the child and the adoptive family.
Read SoulSpring Counseling therapist Marie Labranche’s story of love and healing through adoption…
I was once asked, “Did you adopt a daughter because you always wanted a girl?” I didn’t hesitate in my reply. “No, I adopted a daughter because she needed a mother.”
There seems to be a big misconception about adopters, and adoptees. Sometimes neither is portrayed in a positive light. I’ve watched more than one Lifetime television movie about the adopted child with the troubled past, and the desperate adopted parent, barren and childless. Although this narrative is not uncommon, allow me to introduce you to an alternate story.
I never planned to adopt. Far from being barren and childless, I was the divorced mother of two teenage sons, neither of which had gone wayward. I was not looking to realize long lost dreams of little girls in pigtails, dresses, and dance recitals.
No. At the time, I was the Director of Foster care at 4Kids of South Florida, an agency contracted by the state of Florida to recruit, train, license, and support foster parents. I was up to my neck in attempting to locate foster homes for the 4 to 6 children who come into care per county per day (www.myflfamilies.com), as well as managing a support staff in Broward and Palm Beach counties. In other words, I was just living my life. As you may hear from some OG’s (old gangsters), I didn’t choose this life, it chose me.
Making the Decision to Adopt
When my daughter experienced a failed adoption, she lamented about where she was going to spend Christmas, or birthdays. Those are adult problems, not child problems. Children need guidance probably more in their young adult years than during infancy. Imagine all the first that a child has to experience... first date, first relationship, first car. I could not imagine this precious girl experiencing those milestones without someone to support her.
There are many routes to adoption: private, international, and yes, through the State. Despite each different path, the goals of adoption remain the same: to give a home to a vulnerable child who needs one, and to rewrite their story. There were things in this life that I knew I could not do… sing, bungee jump, and swim, just to name a few. But being a mother to a child who needed one? Yeah, I could do that. All. Day. For a person who never planned to marry, or have children, once I did both, I was hooked. I loved being a mother, and still do.
Sara has been a joy in our family, and her brothers love her as much as I do. My boys were no strangers to fostering/adoption. They grew up in that world and were accustomed to me bringing kids home, usually for short stays. When I told them this one was here to stay, their only remark was "I thought she would be younger" and "she cries a lot." They have been thick as thieves since then.
My favorite Mother's Day Gift ever! (I know it was my daughter's doing, the boys are not that creative).
So Many Adoption Stories
Through the adoption experience, I learned that families are made, not born. A family has a legal definition and a social definition. Socially, it is defined by Secombe (2018) as “a relationship by blood, marriage or affection.” Anyone you have affection for can be family. That’s good news for those that may be disconnected from their own family of origin. Many adults talk about “families of origin” (their blood relatives) and “families of choice” (safe friends who love unconditionally, who meet the needs that go unmet by blood relatives).
While we know any worthwhile venture comes with its challenges, I have found that the rewards of choosing to love a vulnerable child far outweigh the challenges. Too often we feel “forced” to love someone because they are family. Adoption is a choice to love someone just because we want to, and just because they need it. It is agape (unconditional, self-sacrificial) love in its purest form.
Zion Datonye Harry was born Oct 25, 2022. “Datonye” means God's plan in Ijaw, a Nigerian language. And God's plan is always so much better than ours! My adoption journey that came out of nowhere has resulted in my becoming a first time "Glamma". I am in love with “God’s plan”!
Just like there are 8 million stories in the big city, there are probably just as many adoptive journeys. They are all special and unique. Many are called to this venture, but few accept the challenge of being chosen. If you happen to be one of the chosen, adoptee or adopted, consider yourself special and blessed. I think it’s high time for us to take the stigma (and fear) out of adoption and embrace the concept as just another way to give birth. No epidural needed!