Our Adoption Journey: 2 Years Later

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Our Adoption Journey: 2 Years Later.

In just a couple of weeks Spear will turn two.

While it’s actually been over three years since we started the process of adoption, it’s been two years since we have started walking the path of an adoptive family.

So much has changed during these two years.

Not just in Spear’s growth and development but in our adoption journey as well.

When I look back to how I felt at this time last year it’s so different from how I feel this year and it’s what made my decision to start a yearly adoption update.

It’s also fitting to write this post during the month of November as it’s National Adoption Awareness Month.

Just as the call to adopt was placed on my heart through another adoptive family, I pray our story can help lead other families to consider adoption as well!

You can read all the details of our entire adoption journey here.

adoption journey 2 years later

Bonding with our Adoptive Child

I believe in being fully transparent and I have been the first to say that bonding with my adoptive son took time.

Throughout the waiting process leading up to his birth I guarded my heart.

I knew there was a chance his birth mom would decide to parent and I put walls up to protect myself.

It took time for those walls to come down.

I also focused my efforts and energies during the wait on pouring into his birth mother and it took me some time to see Spear as my son rather than only her son.

That is a big change I’ve noticed during this year.

I no longer look at him and think about her right away.

Yes, I have moments where I’m overcome with emotion and gratefulness at the incredible gift his birth mother gave our family.

But majority of the time? He’s just my kid.

I don’t think of him as “my adoptive child.” He’s just my baby boy.

I feel no differently about him than I do my biological children.

Our bond is very strong (not quite as strong as his bond with Daddy though…he’s a DADDY’S BOY), our love is very deep, our connection is unbreakable.

Wanting more details about bonding with adopted baby? Here’s my post on the topic!

adoptive mom and son

Seeing Similarities in Adoptive and Bioligical Children

One thing I was very nervous about regarding adopting was that our adoptive child would feel “left out” from the biological siblings.

Every family tends to focus on their similar traits.

We joke constantly about Kye getting his big head from me or Britt getting her silliness from her Daddy.

I was nervous that Spear would be left out of those sorts of bonds.

The fun little things you have in common when you’re related.

One of the most amazing and incredible things to me about our adoption journey this past year is just how much Spear is like the rest of us.

First, he looks like he could easily be my biological son.

People constantly say how much he looks like our oldest daughter, Britt, and I’ve even found pictures of myself at Spear’s age that look EXACTLY like him.

toddler girl

It’s so awesome how God works and how it’s just another star aligning that reminds me how meant to be Spear was in our family unit.

But it’s not just looks that he has in common with his siblings and parents – we all our constantly finding more and more traits that are similar to the rest of our crew:

  • Spear thinks exactly the same way Zach does (very, very common sense smart)
  • He has the same wide feet that Kye did at this age
  • Spear loves attention…which is a trait I think we all have except maybe Tess haha!
  • He is very silly like Britt and the kids always say that Kye and Tess are the most alike and Spear and Britt are the most alike

The list could go on and on but the older Spear gets the more he has in common with his siblings and the closer that brings their bonds together too.

None of them ever bring up his adoption. They simply don’t think about it.

He is their brother. Through and through!

It is important to me that we do always recognize Spear’s birth family and appreciate the path that brought him to our family so we set aside his “gotcha day” as a day to remember back and to allow the kids to ask any questions they may have too.

Of course they can always ask questions anytime and I’m sure as Spear gets older he will probably also have questions and we will always, always be open with all of our children but I specifically ask them if they have any questions on that day.

You can read how we do “gotcha day” here.

four kids against wall biological and adoptive child

Worries and Concerns over Adoption Path

Spear is my fourth kid so you’d assume I’d worry a whole lot less about him, but with his adoptive background I do worry about him more than I ever did my other three children.

I am quick to jump to concern with him in a way I’ve never really been concerned before.

But it’s hard to raise a child whose family history you don’t fully know and whose early beginnings you weren’t part of without having some worries.

I am not a person who will be consumed with worry, I am a person who has a concern and then jumps into action.

So I don’t see my worrying about Spear as a negative trait at all.

I’m a big believer in being proactive and, so far in my parenting it’s a trait that has served myself and my children well.

Spear was slow to talk so I was concerned and jumped on it and now he’s doing AMAZING with speech and is saying new words every single day.

As a mom, I am kinda always scanning all of my babies for potential red flags of things that may need extra attention, but I think that “Mom scan” will always be a little extra focused on Spear, even as he gets older.

Here’s a post I wrote specifically about medical concerns when adopting.

adoption journey two years later - what adoption really looks like

Relationship with Birth Mother: Update on Open Adoption

We have what is considered an open adoption plan.

Open adoption can look very different from family to family and situation to situation.

Ours is an agreement regarding contact.

Every year around Spear’s birthday I will send a letter with photos to our adoption lawyer who will then notify Spear’s birth mother (if possible) and then she will have the option to pick up that letter and photos at any time.

She may go right away, she may wait 10 years, she may never pick them up.

I will actually not be notified by our lawyer at all regarding what Spear’s birth mother decides to do and they will store all of the letters and photos in a safe storage facility that she will have access to whenever she desires it.

I love this plan as it takes any pressure off of Mama E. She may not be at a place where she wants to be reminded of Spear, or she may look super forward to seeing his updates.

She can decide what is best for herself and her path and doesn’t have any sort of pressure.

The letters and photos are the only written in stone agreement we have regarding any sort of communication.

They are also the only continued “cost” in adoption.

Once the adoption was finalized we were also finished with any financial obligations and now Spear is legally our son and any costs associated with him or his well being are the same as the ones involved for our biological children.

Mama E does have my phone number. She follows me on Instagram. We are not “friends” on social media but my IG is public and I don’t mind at all that she follows me there.

She knows about the blog and has read several of the posts (which she reached out and let me know she loved which meant THE WORLD to me to read).

When Spear was first born we had a lot of contact but that slowly dwindled over time which is extremely common with adoption.

I have always let her lead when it comes to contact and always remind her that we are here for her, we love her, and our door is always open.

We did meet up once with her when Spear was about 6 months old (you can read about that special day here) but have not visited with her since that day.

Over the last year I have received one text from her and have seen where she’s liked a few posts on Instagram but that’s all that has happened regarding contact.

And that’s okay.

I do not take it personally. I know she loves Spear and me and our little family. I know she knows we love her.

I do not know what the future holds regarding that relationship. It is my hope that the door always remains open on both sides.

Spear has three biological sisters (who are PRECIOUS and one of whom yall is Tess’s TWIN) and a half brother and it’s important to me for him to have the opportunity to reach out and build those relationships when and if the time comes that he has that desire or that any of his birth family so desires too.

I do think it is easier to have less contact, probably for us all for now.

It’s tough for me to reach out to Mama E because I don’t want to cause her pain or open a wound she may be trying to heal.

I don’t know how she’s coped or feels about her decision to adopt now that time has passed.

While I pray she’s content and has peace, I’d also never want to “rub it in her face” or force any sort of relationship with her that may not be best for her healing process.

Our constant contact early on did make it difficult for me to bond with Spear in the way I really needed to as his mother because I just had a lot of feelings of concern about Mama E and how she was feeling and I’d look at him and just see her.

Having less contact gave my heart more room to put him and my relationship with him first, which is where it needs to be.

Mama E didn’t choose me to raise her son because she wanted me to spend my time focusing on her, she chose me to be his mother because she wanted me to be his mother.

I can’t be the best mom to him while always feeling adoption guilt and it’s been a blessing to be able to have that bit of distance and space to allow for the bond he and I have to blossom.

You can read all of my thoughts about open adoption here

adoptive parents and child

Sharing Spear’s Adoption Story

Spear has absolutely zero idea at this point in his life that he entered our family through adoption.

It’s not a secret or something we’re keeping from him…it’s just that he’s two.

He doesn’t have the ability to even comprehend something on that scale.

We own several adoption related storybooks but with Spear’s speech delay we don’t actually read stories yet and have kept things simple with our reading time being labeling the items in the books rather than telling actual stories!

My plan is to use his Finalization Day Celebration as a day to show him the adoption journal I put together (kinda like a baby book but for adoption) and to show him his birth mom and siblings.

A time to share memories from that experience and allow for him to ask questions and just kinda have our entire family focus on the topic that day, if desired.

As he develops more with his speech I plan to add more adoption books to our story time and read them throughout the year too before bedtime.

I never want to force anything and know that Spear may not want to talk about how he entered our family, but I personally think he will be comfortable talking about it and sharing his story.

We walked the path together as a family and he will always be raised in seeing that journey as a blessing and honor and that he is loved so fully by TWO incredible families.

I will always respect his feelings, always be open to answering any questions, and always be willing to handle things however he desires.

If he asks me to remove ever single piece of adoption content from my blog, I will in a heartbeat.

It will be his path to walk and decide how to navigate and we will follow his lead, much like we follow Mama E’s as well.

When asked how we will tell Spear that he was adopted my answer is always “we won’t tell him, he’ll just always know.”

I plan to just show him the pictures in the adoption book and point out Mama E and the names of his siblings and remind him how much they love him and how special he is to our family.

Keep it super simple and to the point!

As he gets older he will naturally understand things clearer and will develop his own thoughts and questions too.

We have always included all of our children in the adoption process and you can see how we’ve explained it to the kids here.

gotcha day

Sharing Our Adoption Path With Others

This is something that is also naturally changing and shifting over time.

It’s tricky to know when to say something about adoption and when to not say anything.

Most often if I do mention adoption the response is very positive and I’ve had SO many awesome conversations regarding the topic.

An Uber driver who has older children who were adopted gave great insight into always sharing openly about their adoption stories with them, a woman at Disney whose sister in law is going through adoption and who I was able to give helpful tips to regarding consultants, countless others who have mentioned they are considering adopting.

I love thinking that maybe Spear’s story will bless others and help lead other families towards adopting too!

However, I also never want Spear to feel singled out or like he’s “the adopted one” either so I’m very delicate with how and when I share his story.

As he gets older, he will be able to decide when and how he tells others but for now it is pretty rare that I mention adoption at all to other people when I have Spear with me.

It’s funny when I take Spear to visit the older kids at school how many teachers and staff will come up and say “Oh you can tell he’s a Parker!” and I just beam and smile and say “I know!”

As Spear gets older I think things will shift even more. Right now I talk about adoption with other people more than I do with him…but I bet in the next couple of years it’ll change to me talking about adoption more with Spear and even less with others.

I am also SUPER interested to see how Spear decides to share with others about his adoption journey.

Will he want to tell people? Will he see it the way I do in that it can help put adoption on people’s hearts? Will he be more private?

Only time will tell! But for now when I do share, I always share in a positive way that I know will bring honor to Spear, Mama E and adoption as a whole.

a look at adoption 2 years later

Personal Feelings About Adopting: 2 Years Later

I very rarely think about adoption.

Life is just life as usual around here and busy with four kids and this little toddler who never stops!

Then sometimes it’ll hit me out of nowhere.

The wait we endured. The no after no. The moments of seeing Mama E with him in her arms. The pain in my gut as I remember her cries.

It feels like a movie. Did I really walk that path? Live those moments?

When I look back on our adoption the biggest feeling I have is PEACE.

I trusted God so fully throughout our walk. SO. FULLY.

I read back on my posts during that time and am just so thankful I trusted Him and so amazed that we were able to go through such a huge journey and have so much peace about it all.

I look at Spear and he’s proof of God’s plan. God’s timing. God’s purpose.

He is exactly who he is meant to be and is where he’s meant to be too.

I know it’s SO cliche to say I wouldn’t change a thing…but I wouldn’t.

Every star had to align just right in order for Spear to be exactly who he is!

We are so blessed and I’m just so thankful we opened our hearts and arms to adopt.

No matter how much time passes I will always carry so much love, honor, respect, admiration, and appreciation for Mama E.

She is SO incredibly strong and loves Spear so incredibly much in order to make the choice she did in adoption.

Spear’s story is just truly amazing and I’m so honored to get to be part of it!

You can read all the details of our entire adoption journey here.

Also by the way I absolutely LOVE it when yall tag me or send people my way who are considering adoption. I’m not some sort of “adoption professional” but it’s a journey I’m so passionate about walking and firmly believe the Lord places that calling on people’s hearts and I love to help in anyway I can.

You can always send people to my Instagram or for specific questions (literally nothing is off the table y’all, I’m happy to answer ANYTHING privately) have them shoot me an email: journeyofphood @ gmail

adoptive child

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Emily Parker

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

You can read more about our family on my About Me page. Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

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