Be Courageous | National Adoption Month

In years past, I’ve issued a challenge to my readers for National Adoption Month.

It usually involved an increase of adoption content on social media …you know, to increase awareness. But, this year I am issuing a different kind of challenge. And I am super excited about it.

The challenge is this: BE COURAGEOUS.

20 Seconds of Insane Courage

There is so much fear in adoption. Fear of the emotions. Fear of the reactions. Fear of letting yourself live in the moment. Fear of the hurt. Fear of the grief. Fear of making the wrong decisions. Fear of just letting go and loving unconditionally. Fear of unkept promises.

Maybe you’re afraid to love an expect parent who has reached out to you because you are not sure if she will choose adoption and you don’t want to get hurt.

Maybe you’re thinking about adoption for your baby but you’re not sure if it’s right for you or your child. You’re afraid to even look into it.

Maybe you’re not sure if you should send that email letting the adoptive family you chose know that you’d like to discuss an increase in contact with them and your child.

Maybe you’re holding a grudge because something didn’t work out the way you had hoped.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should reach out to your biological family. What will your reunion be like?

You never know unless you try, reach out, pull the trigger on that prompting.

Make that call.

Send that email.

Write that text.

Ring that doorbell.

Give that hug.

Forgive that misstep.

Just do it.

Be courageous. Say the thing your heart has been nudging you to say.

Insane courage. Embarrassing bravery. That’s what I’m hoping for this month.

How will you be insanely courageous this month?

Bring Closure to your community, watch on Hulu.

This summer my husband and I hosted a screening of Closure for our local adoption community.

(Don’t know what I’m talk ing about? Learn about Closure.)

SLC Tugg Flier Presented by The R House

I did not pre-screen it, but I knew when I saw the preview that it was something that I wanted to bring to my beloved city. As a movie theater (and movie theater popcorn) enthusiast, it was important to me to see it on the big screen surrounded by folks that were going to be touched by Angela’s story as told by her filmmaker husband, Bryan Tucker. I wanted to experience it together. I wanted us to feed off each other’s energy.

The whole experience did not disappoint. It was a huge success!

After welcoming everyone to the event, I settled in between my parents-in-law and my husband in the front of the theater where I could listen to erupting laughter (there are some really funny parts!) and sniffles.

The film is raw and fair to all members of the adoption constellation. No one looks like “the bad guy” and your heart is just filled with love for this growing family as they keep making connections with one another.

Closure Documentary Screening SLC

I was especially touched by the relationship Angela has with her adoptive mom and how her mom supported her and cheered for her along the journey. I didn’t see jealousy and I didn’t see a mom who felt threatened by Angela finding her roots and embracing them. During a scene where Angela is talking to her mom before calling her birth family for the first time, I snuck to the back of the theater to take a picture (above). I shot it out on Instagram with the following caption,

My dream came true! Watching @ClosureFilm with my local adoption community. My heart is SO full. Tears are flowing! @angelatucker‘s mom is inspiring. I hope every adoptive mom in this theater is learning from her example. Love learning from her. Totally falling in love with this whole family! Thank you for sharing your story, @angieadoptee! So powerful. This is a MUST-SEE. BRING IT TO YOUR CITY. @beetucks #adoption

It really is a must see for everyone involved in adoption. My favorite part? There’s a scene in the film that I wasn’t expecting. It rang so true to me and touched on some pretty sensitive emotions after our failed adoptions and reversed adoption. It’s the scene where Angela finds her “foster family” and the foster mama talks about what it was like to let her go. Such a powerful scene! Thank you for including that, Bryan.

Panel after Closure Screening

After the film, we had a brief panel led by my husband who is a social worker. The panel included a birth mother and adoptive mother who had been reunited but the son (a teenager) wasn’t quite ready to move to face-to-face yet. Then there was a woman who was adopted (several times actually due to disrupted adoptions) through foster care and her story of reunion. And lastly, we had an adoptive couple that I look up to as wonderful examples of doing openness right. They have 7 children, 6 of which were adopted through foster care. Each child enjoys a level of openness with their biological families. Each panelist shared their story and their reaction to the film. (Spoiler alert: They all thought it was fantastic.)

I was especially touched by the woman who was adopted. She said that she turned to her friend in the theater so many times during the film and said, “This is so right on. This is exactly how I felt too.” There couldn’t be a better testimonial to the night!

I also have to tell you about the tears that my husband shed as he spoke of Angela’s birth mother. He was deeply moved by her pain which appeared to be caused, in part, by the closed adoption. He asked the theater to really think about who closed adoption truly benefits. Great food for thought. If you’re not sure about open adoption vs closed adoption, I invite you to watch this film with that question in mind.

Debriefing after Closure

After the panel we migrated to the foyer where we must have stayed for a good hour–making connections, talking about the film, sharing about our families, building a stronger community. It made my heart happy. This is why we need YOU to be involved in the adoption community. This is why, friends. 

Now I am sure you are dying to see the film. There are many ways to make that happen.

Bring it to your community. <<< This is my recommendation. I could have purchased the documentary and watched it in my jammies at home. But I knew I wanted to see it with my local adoption community! There is power when all sides of adoption are gathered together to learn and be fed. As I emailed with Bryan and Angela about this post, I love what Bryan said about bringing this film to your city.

One thing we hear over and over is that this film is meant to be watched in community, and I truly believe that as well.  As you already know, doing a Tugg screening is not easy, as it does require some commitment to promotion, etc., but I do want people to know it’s possible to succeed!

Closure Documentary on Hulu

Watch on Hulu. YES! Hulu! Stream it for free. (Image from Closure’s Facebook page.)

Closure on Aspire

Look for it on Aspire. The first airing will be 11/5 at 8pm ET. (Image from Closure’s Facebook page.)

Connect with Bryan and Angela and their journey on Facebook and Twitter.

 

One last thing… after you watch this film you will wonder, “How can I get my hands on that soundtrack?” Question answered HERE.

What Jean ValJean taught my husband about being an adoptive father.

A couple of months ago, I took my husband to see Les Miserables at a theater in-the-round.

I’ve seen it on Broadway and was even been in a production while in college, but this was a whole different ballgame. There’s something incredible about an in-the-round experience. It’s so personal.

My husband despises musicals with the very core of his soul, but in a grand gesture of his love for me he agreed to go …and he even went with a happy(ish) attitude. This story runs through my veins and is deeply personal for me. I know he knows that and that’s why I think he makes the effort.

Les Miserables and Adoption

As the music began and the lights started to dim, the Beatles Mania that had been brewing all evening just about boiled over into tween-like screaming and selfie taking. This story is a spiritual experience for me every single time. My husband (who had never seen a live production of it), was in for a treat.

By the ending scene, he was wiping his eyes and I knew the magic had touched him too. Mission accomplished! The next day, an unsolicited email with the following post popped up in my inbox along with a little note that said, “I sent a similar message to the boys’ birth moms too.” That man is so full of heart. I am a lucky lady.

 

What Jean ValJean reminded me about being an adoptive father.

So, Lindsey “gave me the opportunity” to go to Les Miserables at a local theater last night. I’m actually pretty bad at going to things that I know I won’t like (never seen a Nicholas Sparks movie–but I did get close once) but when it comes to Les Mis, I try to suck it up for a night every once in a while. I’m pretty sure I only made like 3 negative comments about it all night.

Musicals just aren’t my style. I find the stories rushed and I think you should only sing when it’s a REALLY good song and not just because you feel like a song is needed. Luckily Les Mis doesn’t have any dancing. Seeing cowboys doing pirouettes in Annie Get Your Gun a few years ago crossed a line with me that I can never cross back over.

Anyway, there was a scene in Les Mis that got my eyes a little wet. It was a moment that reminded me of my own position as a father of children that were not mine initially.

As ValJean is dying, he hands Cosette his confession and says (well…sings), “It’s the story of those who always loved you. Your mother gave her life for you, then gave you to my keeping.”

Now, our kids’ birth mothers are very much alive but they DID give a part of their life for their boys and they gave them to me to be their father. In that moment in that theater, I recalled the joy and the weight of that fact. I try to remember it every day–that 3 incredible women decided that I should be the one to protect and provide for their boys, to be the one that made sure they knew safety, happiness, and love. It’s an awesome responsibility. One that I don’t know I would have understood as well had I had children biologically, one that I don’t take lightly. I’m not a perfect father but I know that I’m just a little bit better because I understand what sacrifices where made to get my children in my care and that I will answer to God and their birth parents for how I guarded that gift.

The R House, Open Adoption

With Jackson’s birth mother and birth family at one of Josh’s football games.

 

So, I gained 2 things last night:

  1. Brownie points with Lindsey (lots of them)
  2. A reminder of how great my life is and how great my responsibilities are.

Now, if we can just find ways to do that without having to sing EVERYTHING.