About the Guest Blogger My name is Melissa, I’m 37 years old and I am adopted. As an adult, I searched out and found my biological parents. I live in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. I work full-time but most importantly, I am a wife and mother of 4 children, 1 of whom was adopted after being our foster son.
I was adopted…
I was adopted as an infant by the most amazing parents in the world. I couldn’t imagine a better childhood. They are supportive and loving and all around great people. With that being said, I still struggled with being adopted. I guess it really wasn’t the “being adopted” part that I struggled with but more the “being given up” part.
“I guess it really wasn’t the “being adopted” part that I struggled with but more the “being given up” part.”
I found myself in my parents’ shoes
Fast forward many years and I found myself in my parents’ shoes. God’s plan was larger than mine. When I thought my family was complete with three small children (ages 5, 4 and 3), he brought our oldest son (age 10) to us. After a year of fostering him, his adoption was finalized and we became a permanent family of six. This was seven years ago and this past week that same son entered his senior year in high school. It’s important for all children to feel like they have their parents as their rock, but even more so for adoptive and foster children. Most times, they have not had a constant in their lives. They have not had someone take time to invest in them. Looking at my past growing up and looking at our relationship with our son and the rest of our children, I want to encourage all foster and adoptive parents out there to be their child’s ROCK.
Be Your Child’s R.O.C.K.
- R: Readily Available
Be readily available for your child.
My children are NEVER ready to talk on my time table but I have found that if I keep myself open and ready, they will come and talk on their terms. I can remember in my own childhood, either one of my parents taking me and our dogs on walks around the neighborhood and I can remember some great conversations on those walks. They made themselves available. I try to do the same. There have been many times when those talks are well after “bed time” and I’m already snuggled under my covers. There have been times when those talks are while I’m at work. However, I have found that if I give a minute of my time to invest in the conversation, we can continue it when we both have the time. Sometimes the conversation seems so incredibly ridiculous to me but I know if they want to talk it over with me, it must be important to them. Be available for them.
- O: Open Dialog
Keep an Open Dialog going.
I can remember talking to my parents about sex, drugs, friends hurting themselves – anything and everything. I can also remember that I had friends who couldn’t talk to their parents about anything. They were either frightened of the reaction or just didn’t have that kind of relationship with their parents. I try to focus on being the type of parent that fosters an open dialog with my children. I want them to know they can talk to me about anything. Most times, they don’t even want my advice, they just want me to listen. My children know my values and morals. They know my beliefs and where I stand on most issues. However, they also know that I am open minded and accepting. They know that I try hard not to judge or assume. They know I am here to listen, to hear, to help – however I can.
- C: Connect
Find what your child loves and love that too. Each of my four children are completely different. They have different tastes in music, clothes, food, etc. They have different personalities and different interests. I love what each one of them loves. My youngest daughter is obsessed with One Direction. One Direction isn’t my top choice in music selections but when she is in the car, we crank the volume and sing out our 1D songs with great passion. This past week, we even went to see them live for her very first concert! My youngest son plays seventh grade football for his school. In addition to attending all the games, I now have my own school mascot shirt I wear on game days and a cute new football necklace. I know nothing about the sport of football but I listen to him tell me all about plays and snaps and tackles. My oldest daughter is a movie and book kind of girl. She can spend hours on end telling me about the differences between Marvel and DC comic characters. She has debates with herself on which movie series was better – The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. She has long conversations with strangers about which Doctor is her favorite. I do not know very much about any of these but I do know that whatever the newest movie is that is coming out, we make a date to go see it together. My oldest son is a senior, and although his interests are mainly focused on making money, he also has a girlfriend. His girlfriend is around as often as he likes. She is always welcome at our dinner table and family events. I take the time to get to know her because she is important in the life of my son. I take the time to connect with all of my children in an effort to show them how much I genuinely care.
- K: Keep on Keeping on
Keep on keeping on. Don’t get me wrong, my life is far from perfect. There are days when I would love to say “I Quit”! There are days when the house is a mess, when no one is listening, when children are being disrespectful and when I don’t think I can take another thing going wrong. At the end of the day, keep on keeping on. I remind myself that my record for getting through the bad days is 100%. There will be days when you feel like this might not be the best for you, for your child, for your family. Keep on keeping on.
I have one hundred stories in my head and in my heart. I am adopted. I have found my birth parents. I have fostered. I have adopted. I am not the perfect parent. I can be impatient. I can be moody. But at the end of the day, I want to be my children’s ROCK. I want them to know I’m here for them, I’m available and willing to talk. I’m willing to listen, even when I don’t understand. I want them to know I love them enough to be interested in their lives and I want them to know that even on my worst of days I love them and I won’t ever give up on them.