Serenity is the Sweetest Word: Embracing Our Heart Heritage

Serenity is the Sweetest Word: Embracing Our Heart Heritage

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Photo: Diane Ponist
Photo: Diane Ponist

Serenity is probably my favorite word; the meaning says it all. The state of being calm, peaceful and untroubled. This is ultimately what we are all looking for, correct? The true question is at what length do we go to achieve this? For our family, it was 1,100 miles away. I can assure you, though, such a big change is working in finding our true peace of mind.

I know, moving doesn’t change everything, but it changes enough. Our children each still have their own issues that are present every day. Just now, it is getting to be where that is our only struggle, just being parents. Before when we were primarily foster parents, life was a constant worry. We were always pressured and watched closely. Having a family that stands out so much for being blended put us under the microscope even more. Answering questions about basics that just being parents, people take for granted.

Now that we have settled in, everyone is just taking in that deep breath that the move is over. We live in a more diverse area now, schooling is less of a worry here. Our neighborhood is filled with people of all different origins, yet every single person waves to us just the same. The kids ride their bikes as we chase after the babies on foot, our differences in appearance no one bats an eye. Yet somehow it seems that our family discussions have been a little deeper.

As many of you know, we only have two children that are biologically connected. They were conceived by the same woman, but do not share the same paternal figure. We had no intentions on telling any of our children this until they are much older. Regardless of genetics, they are still siblings, our kids tell everyone that love is the only thing that makes a family. When we ask what makes our family, our kids point to their heart. Well, until our five-year-old son made a comment and we had to correct him. We were forced to let the cat out of the bag.

When Kristin got pregnant, we explained to the kids why they were all adopted and why Kristin wanted to experience carrying. They understood, they were all a part of the process and loved every second of it.  Then seven months into our pregnancy, we got the call that our, at the time, three-year-old daughter had a baby brother just born. Hence how Karson came about, the kids assumed it was just another foster baby that we randomly got a call for. Up until that point, we had discussions how all the kids came from different bellies and that’s why we all look so different. They love that part, that love, and our last name is what brings us together.

When recently Alyx made a comment during a dinner discussion that her and Landon came from the same belly, Landon quickly corrected her. He blurted out the same conversation that took place prior to the babies, “None of us are from the same bellies.” We realized, we cannot let a statement like that go when our family is built on trust. We had to tell them that, it used to be our situation, things have now changed. We gave them the actual story of why Karson came to us, most of them felt no different.

After we broke the news, everyone was perfectly fine. All but one, our five-year-old son was upset at first. Not of jealousy of it not being him having a biological sibling. He was upset because he loved the fact that every sibling came from different places. He had tears in his eyes and we talked it out. I asked if it bothered him that Gavin came from Kristin. He said, “No, he is just my brother from my mommy’s belly.”

The issue he had was that what some people saw as a negative, he embraced the idea that every one of our kids are unique. Looking on the inside, people would say its not fair to the children that they are all diverse colors and genetics yet have two mommies.  He loves the fact that we are unlike most other families – they say that’s what makes our family stronger.

We were worried that emotional issues would brew with hearing about two of our biological siblings and wondering about their own biological families even more. When it seems that it was quite the opposite. No one asked if they have siblings not in our home. They were more worried about how it would affect our circumstance and the fact that different makes us – us. That’s where we find our peace: learning that our children have embraced all our family’s differences.

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