I have been pondering the popular notion of the “Adoption Triad.”
That would refer to the adopted child, the adoptive parent(s), and the birth mother.
This is not an adoption
blog, but in my many interactions every week with orphans, foster parents, and orphanage caregivers I am thinking a very significant group is left out of this discussion.
Namely, the persons and groups caring for the child for that very significant period of time between the birth parent and the adoptive parent.
I have seen orphanage caregivers cry as the child goes to their waiting forever family.
I have seen foster parents grieve for months or even years after their child has gone to a loving home.
I know of nurses who housed an abandoned infant in the wing of a hospital and split the cost of feeding the child for many months.
I see the orphanage caregiver pouring days, months and years into a child, and often some form of attachment has taken place in some settings.
And I am slowly recognizing that orphanage directors often are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to making decisions on behalf of the children under their wings.
I have also seen plenty of children on the other end, even after arriving to their wonderful new family, grieve what was familiar and yet gone forever.
It is essential that we recognize the many faces involved in orphan care and adoption, and the way each of those helps shape that child into who he or she is today.
It is often easy for us (i.e. me) to prefer to judge those working in suboptimal settings and be angry with the way things are.
I just want to remind the forever family moms and dads (and myself) that every moment somebody cared for your child, fed them, and sheltered them from the elements, they were giving you a gift.
The gift of expanding your child’s capacity to love and receive love, to respond to stimuli in their environment, and the gift of survival.
Even though that period may or may not be suboptimal, the fact is, your child survived to this point.
And that is in part because of the fourth member of the Adoption Triad.