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Words of Wisdom in Open Adoption

Kristy and Nate Boblitt recently were invited to prepare a talk about open adoption by LOV/CON.

Adoption Connection teamed up with the Boblitts to help them complete their adoptions and we got a chance to ask them questions about the creation of their talk, and about raising healthy and happy kids.

How did you get invited to do a talk on LOV/CON?

Our friends, Caroline and Daniel, created LOV/CON as a way to celebrate their wedding instead of a traditional reception. They wanted to offer their friends and family a chance to learn new perspectives on love and their posted videos and talks were the way to do that. They asked us to speak on the lessons of love we have learned from adoption. My husband and I created the speech together with their guidance and critiques. It was better than couple’s therapy and quite an experience!

You use two definitions of open adoption. The “official” one and, the more personal, family definition. How did you come up with that?

We came to our family definition through living our lives as a family formed by adoption and the ever-evolving process of explaining adoption to our children and community. We really wanted our kids to understand that they have two sets of parents in their lives, and that both we and their birth parents are a part of who they are. Even if you have very little or even no information about a child’s birth family, they are still a part of the child and the unique way they came into this world. The idea of being forever connected to each other through the birth of a child has helped us to always validate and honor our children’s birth families as a part of them and also as a part of our family.

You mention that in adoptive parenting it can take a little while to switch gears from wanting to parent to suddenly being a parent. That there is some “becoming” there and that it can take a little while and love is a process. Was that different then you expected? 

It was definitely a little different than we expected. As a parent by adoption, you put a lot of thought into becoming a family. You dream about it, you grieve over it, you worry that it will never happen. When it does finally happen, it can be a bit of a surprise that you feel a mix of emotions, and it takes time to connect with your baby and feel like a parent. This actually happens in families that have biological children as well, but I think it is magnified with adoption.

In adoption, you don’t have 9 months to prepare for “this” baby even if you have been waiting much longer than that to be a parent. You are an insta-family, often with very little notice. Also, in adoption there is always some measure of uncertainty after a child is placed with you until the paperwork is signed. Once the adoption is in process, your brain has to shift to allow you to believe that this is truly happening and you can really let go and attach to this baby. The baby also comes with their own experiences from the womb such as familiar voices, smells, etc.  Everything is new to them as well. It takes time to get to know each other and love each other.  It happens and is amazing, but it is a process for sure.

The story you tell about when your daughter was questioning you in the bathroom is such a common one for adoptive parents and yet can be so difficult. You really got that your emotions were not tied to your daughter’s question and curiosity about her place in the world. Is that story hard for people to hear?

Yes, it is hard for people to hear and it is a hard one to tell at times. I do think it is an important story to share, however, because it is a great example of how we have to separate out and mediate our emotions so that we can support our children in their need to explore who they are and how they came to be in their families.

Adoption is bittersweet by nature and evokes both joy and grief from all who are touched by it. It is very important that we allow our children, and ourselves, to embrace the many emotions that come with being adopted even if it is hard for us to hear them. It is also a good example of how you can transform an emotionally charged moment into an opportunity for communication and exploration of a very complicated issue. In the end, this moment brought my daughter and I closer together, not farther apart. It was a good reminder to look beyond the questions they ask to see what they really are saying and needing in that moment.

Anything else you care to add?

I am hopeful that this video can help people to better understand adoption and see the many opportunities for love and connection when families are formed in this way.

Related Post: A Blended Adoptive Family – Writing Their Own Story

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