November, widely known as Movember or Moustache November, is a month where many men grow facial hair in awareness of men’s health, specifically prostate cancer. Since Marcy’s father kicked prostate cancer’s butt not once but twice, we are all for promoting prostate cancer awareness; but it’s not the only awareness issue that November focuses on – it’s also National Adoption Month.
If you didn’t know it was National Adoption Month, don’t feel too badly because we weren’t aware of it before this year either. Adoption has been an important part of our lives for quite some time, especially Marcy’s life. Marcy’s older sister, Melissa, is adopted. Now, because adoption is such a huge part of our lives and the way Marcy’s parents chose to start theirs, we feel the need to pay a little attention to this celebration.
Our story, which we hope will soon become an adoption story, is just one of many, many adoption stories. Some adoption stories are created through familial adoptions, some international adoptions, others through state care like ours, and an additional route to take is through private agencies, which is what Marcy’s parents did over thirty years ago.
Many families turn to adoption when doctors say conceiving a child is not an option. We never bothered to speak with a doctor regarding one of us trying to conceive because we knew it wasn’t the path we wanted to take. We believed there were children in state custody who were waiting to complete our family. However, Marcy’s parents did speak with a doctor about conceiving a child, and he said it wasn’t possible. Obviously the doctor wasn’t one hundred percent correct in his prognosis, since Marcy is sitting here as we write this blog. Marcy’s parents, eager to start a family, started looking into adoption. Marcy’s parents chose to use Catholic Charities as their adoption agency, even though they are Protestant and not Catholic.
Marcy had always known, since she was old enough to understand, that her sister was adopted. The story was no secret in the family. In fact, Marcy and her siblings joke that Melissa is “The Chosen One” because she was adopted and Marcy is “The Miracle” because she wasn’t supposed to be able to happen. However, even though we previously knew the broad strokes of the story we had not discussed it in much detail until we started on our adoption path. For example, Marcy never knew that her parents didn’t care about the gender or ethnicity of the child they were placed with – they just wanted a child to share their lives with, just like us. Even though they didn’t care if their child looked like them, Marcy’s parents were placed with a baby girl with blond hair and blue eyes, just like Marcy’s mother. Coincidentally enough, even though we were open to children of any race, we were placed with two children who do share similar characteristics with us; Sport has dirty blond hair like Meg while Sunshine has darker, slightly curly hair like Marcy.
Our journey to adoption has also stimulated similar discussions with Melissa on the subject. She has shared her views on open adoptions, molded by her personal experiences. Melissa was born to two teenage parents who recognized that they could not care for a baby girl and gave her up for adoption. However, that is the bulk of the information we knew about Melissa’s parents until recently; she was adopted through a closed adoption. Marcy’s family was a happy family, and from what we know from Marcy’s experiences as a child and from Melissa’s words herself, Melissa had a happy childhood and she loves her parents dearly. Nonetheless, the older she got, the more she yearned to know about her birth parents (as an adult she has been able to unearth a bit more information through extensive research).
A large portion of this yearning came from wanting to know ethnic lineage and medical history. Melissa knew her adoptive family tree, which an aunt had tracked all the way to Governor Bradford and the Mayflower, however, it wasn’t her biological family. Were her health problems related to her family history or just dumb luck? These questions are a large reason why Melissa has encouraged us to have an open adoption if and when the time comes. And we have decided that if the situation is right, we will agree to an open adoption.
We love the adoption stories of real families, families we know personally and the ones we learn about through friends or on the internet. But we also enjoy the fictional story of an adoptive family portrayed on ABC Family’s “The Fosters.” We must note that we were particularly drawn to the show because the family is headed by a lesbian couple. For anyone who’s looking for a feel good, highly dramatized and simplified adoption story we encourage you to check it out.
Finally – here are some photo highlights of our weekend…
Swimming at the YMCA:
Basketball at the YMCA:
Hiking at a local wooded preserve:
Dance party in the living room: