How much can a 3-year-old comprehend adoption and all of its complexities? My son was adopted on National Adoption Day 2021. In this past year, we have continued to read many picture books about adoption and once or twice he has asked, “So am I adopted yet, or what?” His adoption took place via Zoom, and we both wore sweatpants. I teared up when the judge read our names together. When it was finished and everyone applauded, I remember saying, “They are all clapping for you!” My son just said, “Why?” That “why” is exactly how I felt: confused and conflicted.
Adoption made it official that my son is not going to be parented by his biological parents, and his birth mother’s name would be deleted from his birth certificate and mine put in its place. As distressing as that reality felt for me, I also felt a sense of relief knowing that legally he is mine and I am his. A few minutes after it was finalized, my doorbell rang, and his foster care agency dropped off gifts and a bunch of balloons. Those balloons were what we needed to just stay in the moment, to play and have fun together like any other Saturday. As a result of his adoption, there will be much more fun Saturdays for us to come. As he gets older, I will follow my son’s lead on how he would like to mark this day, if at all. I will forever be so proud to be his mom while recognizing that National Adoption Day is only possible due to the heartbreaking loss of family as well.