#54 – Belonging is forever.

January 7, 2013 at 9:43 am | Posted in adoption issues, Adoptive parenting do's, Is this forever?, Raising the adopted child | Leave a comment

Belonging is forever

I recently read that 60% of American families are giving financial assistance to their adult children who are already out of school.  Even though we are in a very difficult economy, this high statistic did surprise me.  My husband came from parents who emigrated from Scandinavia and pushing the child out of the nest at 18 or after college was Family Portraitparamount and announced early on so the child would know he better be prepared.  In a dire emergency I imagine my in-laws might have softened a bit, but fortunately we never had to test this theory.

I’ve often thought of the early settlers where it was not unusual for teen-agers to leave home to head west toward what they thought would be a better life.  Often they never returned or were heard from again.  I imagine this would be a haunting sadness for the parents of these young pioneers, wondering if their children were safe, cold, hungry, penniless, in trouble.

In one adoption support group I heard an adoptive mother state that she knew she’d have her son until he was 18, but she didn’t expect him to stick around after that.  The rest of us around the table were shocked.  She was adamant in her belief.  She was sure that at 18 he’d find his birth family and transfer to that family.  She was undoubtedly starting out at an early age to prepare herself for losing her son.  We don’t know how it turned out, but parenting that provisionally could not be good for her son, nor for her.

In most families I’ve worked with, the cycle of “togetherness” is the same as in biological families. Small children stay close to love and security, teens want to spread their wings, young adults want to live their own lives, but after those stages are over, family closeness returns.  I’ve observed that some adoptive families are leery about the closeness returning.  They think they’ve done their parenting and their children have left them – because they are adopted.

Many adoptive parents think it is the differences between them and their children that separate them emotionally and in other ways.  Actually I’m going to address this in the next blog.  When you think about it, many of us proudly state how different we are from our parents, how we live our lives differently, but the paradox is we expect our children to be like us and are disappointed when they are not.

Family love is family love.  In some families it is tested, sometimes to an exhaustible limit, but if the love is steady, unconditional and expressed, it is like a magnet bringing kindred souls back together again.  Love is a powerful thing.  In adoptive families it can prove just how powerful it is, uniting people of often very different persuasions and making them feel whole.

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