Been There, Done That
A comment was made to me the other day by someone who had just heard rumor that I was getting divorced. “A lot of adoptive families are getting divorced years after adopting. It really is not fair to the children to do that to them. They have been through so much as it is.”
I would tend to agree, however, as someone going through a divorce (my second actually), with adoptive children from this second marriage, I can say with all sincerity, my divorce has nothing to do with the adoption process or my children. I do not care about statistics, scientific or manufactured. The fact is, I have kept quiet intentionally about the reason behind my divorce, the process and steps of my divorce, and what my hopes are following this divorce. And for no other reason, than those very children that I mentioned earlier.
I am a fairly private person when it comes to the burdens I face in life. I do not like to burden anyone else. So in spite of obvious behavior changes in public between my ex-wife-to-be and I, people still expressed shock, disappointment, and some, even anger (mostly from her family) for what simply did not make sense. Again, I am not going to discuss the circumstances that led me to file, nor am I going to discuss reactions and the way that I am being treated.
I cannot speak for her, but my marriage failed. I do still have the responsibility of being a parent. And I believe that I am a great dad. I love both of my daughters and will do all that I can to protect them through this process. But this is a divorce. Someone will feel wronged. Comments will be made that cannot be taken back, whether factual or simply emotional. But children are especially susceptible and intuitive when “mommy and daddy” no longer seem to be getting along. The children do not need the additional comments and opinions of others, including other family members to make them feel worse about the situation that they are caught right in the middle of. Instead, it would benefit the children more, if energies were directed more at showing that with the exception of the divorce, the rest of their lives will continue to be normal. Their mother will be the same person. Their father will be the same person. Their friends and families will still be the same. Their world should not come to an end because their parents are divorcing. Quite the contrary, as Dr. Phil says (I cannot believe I am actually quoting him), “better for a child to come from a broken home, than to live in one.”
I am doing my best to make sure that they do not feel that this situation is their fault, because they have absolutely nothing to do with it. Because of the adoptions, both my ex-to-be and I are very close to the many families that we adopted with and I have made it clear that when it comes to our annual reunions, that I expect both of us to attend with our daughters. While it may be awkward at first, she and I have proven on at least three occasions that we will still be able to co-parent our children. But this is also important to all the other children who were adopted with us, as they too will be affected.
So, this is what people will still see, my ex-to-be and I co-parenting. I cannot control what is done and said behind the scenes other than what I do myself. My children do not need to see or hear the growing animosity that often comes with a bitter divorce process. I know how sensitive children are to this process as I was a child of divorce. I experienced the animosity and the hatred that was not kept from me. I will never forget it. Those memories are what drive me to protect my daughters from the misdirected and misguided judgments that are thrown at me. They do not mention what they overhear, but they do hear it. And that is not fair to them. My daughters love me, and they love their mother. It is not right for certain individuals to take that away from my children.
I am just asking, please, keep the children in mind.
Children will be affected but they don’t have to be affected in a negative way. I would venture to say my daughter has never heard me say a bad thing about her father. He was a great father to her. Her father and I had no intention what so ever of using her as a chess piece or putting her in the middle, neither did any of our family members. This is an adult issue and doesn’t need to affect the children in a massive way. The goal should be to affect the kids lives as little as possible, co-parent appropriately, and be civil with each other when at events for your kids. You need to remember the events are about the kids and not the two of you.