14
Aug
08

Real Parents with Children All Our Own

If you’re already part of the adoption community, you’ve probably heard the phrases in the title of this post a million times. The second phrase, “children of your own,” bothers me far more than the first. I never want my son to think that he was our Plan B or second choice, especially since for us that’s not even true. Adoption was our first choice in building our family—something we’ve talked about since we were engaged 16 years ago.

“Real parent” doesn’t really bother me, although I know it’s a pet peeve for other adoptive parents. I know that I’m definitely my son’s “real mother.” But his birth mom/first mom/Korean mom is very much his real mother too. Both of us have done or are doing very real things in his life that are helping him to become the person God created him to be.

Since we chose adoption as our path to parenthood, my husband and I will never have the luxury of being our child’s only parents. We had to accept that and get over any hangups we had about it. But honestly it’s never been a problem.

J’s Korean mom’s story was a huge factor in our being drawn to our son. We related to so much of her experience, and what he will experience, that we wanted to pick up where she left off. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and wonder about how she’s doing. We talk about her with J, although at 2 it’s very hard to him to process having another mom.

I was asked recently if it’s smart to talk about adoption and birth parents with a child so young. My answer is a resounding YES! Even though he doesn’t completely understand at this point, that fact that we talk about it now means it will never be a secret or seen by him as taboo subject. Another plus to starting young is that if the subject is uncomfortable for the adoptive parent, talking about it out loud helps it become more natural and normal. By doing that hopefully by the time your children are old enough to recognize you’re discomfort, it will no longer be an uncomfortable subject.

We never want J to think that he can’t come to us and talk to us about his birth family. We don’t want him to feel that his loving his birth family and wondering about them means he loves us less. It doesn’t mean that—it’s natural to love the people who created you and wonder about them.

In fact, we feel that J’s Korean family is part of our family. My natural curiosity leads me to think about what his birth parents look like. As I read about Korean history, I wonder about the experiences that his Korean family had. I think these thoughts give me a little bit of insight into what J will feel when he’s older. Yet, I know my feelings and wonderings about his birth family are only minuscule compared to what he will feel.

I know for many adoptive parents birth parents are a hang up—a subject that makes them sad, uncomfortable, or fearful. Of course, every adoption is different but I think it’s important to be open to birth parent discussions. Introduce the subject early and be prepared for what will probably be a roller coaster of emotions on the subject as your child grows.


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My Korean Culture Blog

Just a reminder that if you want to learn more about Korean culture (both traditional and pop culture), language resources, and cooking, check out my other blog: thekoreanway.wordpress.com It's filled with resources for adoptive families or anyone interested in Korean culture.

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Be Strong, Geum-Soon
Please Teach Me English
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2009 Lost Memories

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