By Mary Kenny
We were attending Grandparents’ Day at the elementary school of our youngest grandchildren. Several of the children were showing pictures of themselves as babies being held and admired by their grandparents.
“I don’t have any baby pictures,” my young granddaughter said matter-of-factly. “I don’t know what I looked like when I was a baby.”
She’s right. Monae came to my son Michael and Brenda’s home at the age of five as a foster child. A year or so later she became a permanent member of the family through adoption. Now at age seven she is a lively and enthusiastic second-grader. But she doesn’t have those pictures that many of us keep throughout life: the earliest pictures of ourselves taken by proud and loving relatives.
Yet Monae and many children like her have a wonderful story, the story of their adoption. The greatest need this child faced was the lack of a permanent home. However kind and loving her foster parents were, the home they provided was temporary. Foster care is meant to be temporary, a safe and supportive step toward a permanent home. Tragically that next important step does not always happen. But when it does happen, when a child joins a home that becomes her forever home, it is cause for rejoicing.
Let us never forget to tell children that wonderful story. How the family came together. How the family members, parents and children alike, could not bear to part with this child. How other people devoted to child welfare worked to make permanence possible. And the day of celebration, the day that courts are not venues of discord and unhappiness but of rejoicing: adoption day.
Once when she was “all grown up,” our own adopted daughter asked me, “What was the date of my adoption?” I knew the exact date and shared it with her. “I’m going to celebrate that as my rebirthday,” she said.
May all our adopted children and their families rejoice in and celebrate their rebirthday.