Ok, here’s the thing…

January 23, 2007 at 10:07 am 10 comments

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I read blogs lately a lot, most of them written by someone in the adoption triad. I’m reminded by these writings several important things when it comes to adoption and has solidified many of my own stances and beliefs regarding adoption. The main things I’m reminded of are that adoption is borne of imperfection and loss. I mean, let’s stop, as a society, putting a pretty bow on it and calling it a gift. The abandonment of girls in China, the extreme poverty of peoples across the world, and in our own country, there is a great deal of pressure put on young women who are in a certain socio-economic situation to relinquish their babies. I have experienced my own great feelings of sadness, confusion and persistent emptiness all stemming from adoption. It’s real, and it goes on and on. If that weren’t so, my reunion would have been a piece of cake and I’d have this terrific relationship with my first mother, which I do not. Also, the losses surrounding adoption are chronic and everlasting. Becoming an adoptive parent has not only left me unchanged in my belief that there needs to be sweeping ethics reform and acknowledgment of those losses within the adoption community and outside of it as well. So now what? What do I do now? As a girl who was once very active in the adoption reform movement in my 20’s, part of me wants to say, “Shhhh…don’t tell anyone I’m adopting.” And if someone does find out, particularly all you lovely adoption bloggers out there, I feel like saying, “I’ll be good! I promise! I’ll do all the right things and take her back to her country every year and speak her language and cook her country’s cuisine and we’ll learn to make beautiful felt rugs”… and anything else I can think of. Just don’t hate me ’cause I’m adopting. See, that’s the adoptee in me. Don’t reject me! I’m ok! Really I am!

But I am. I’m adopting. And you know what? I’m SO SO SO SO SO SO glad I am. There it is. I’ve said it. Hmmm. No thunderbolt yet.

So, the thing is, how do I, and therefore we as a society and global community reconcile adoption? On a microcosm, how do I reconcile being adoptee and adoptive mother? How do I navigate myself so that I “reflect the change I want to see in the world”? By standing up and lending a small but distinct voice in the adoption world. I can stand up for myself by declaring that closed adoption was a tough road for all involved. My adoption didn’t at all serve my first parents. They were promised that they would be able to go on and ‘pretend like it didn’t happen and lead normal lives.’ It left them hurt and confused and with wounds and they both live lives that reflect those wounds. I can stand up in particular for my first mother who, in response to her experiences during her pregnancy and relinquishment of me, forged her own armor which she feels she must wear for the rest of her life. She is aware that it protects her from hurt, but that also it is bondage and barrier.

Most of all, the change I want and must reflect is in my parenting my daughter whom I have yet to meet. So, yes. I will cook her country’s cuisine, learn to craft felt like they do in her country of origin and buy beautiful things on our trips there. By honoring her place of birth, I honor her and her first mother and family. And while I’m doing so, it’s still not enough. Because orphanages aren’t simply filled with children whose parents have died and need homes. No, there are children around the world who are in orphanages because of poverty, hunger, politics and other countless reasons. THAT is the change that I must be a part of, and ultimately must be a part of adoption reform. Yes, it’s that global. So, simultaneously I am adopting and ultimately working toward eradicating the need for people across the world to feel as though they must relinquish their babies and children. There is so much work to do. Our foster care system is broken. The western world has too much to eat and so much of the rest of the world is starving. Where do we begin? It begins with me. In my own adoption stuff and in adopting my daughter – it starts with me. And while I can’t solve much in the way of the world’s problems, I can do what I know to be true and right. Love is a great beginning, but my daughter is going to need so much more than that and I’m so OK with that. That’s my job. That’s what every adopted child needs. She will reflect the kind of parenting that I very much needed. These are the things I can do. That’s the thing. Yeah. That’s what I wanted to say.

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Entry filed under: adoptees, adopting, Adoption, Adoption Blog, Adoption Ethics, adoptive, birth mothers, Children, Daughters, Family, first mothers, infertility, International Adoption, Kyrgyzstan, Motherhood, Parenting.

Adoption – an incomplete thought Waiting, organizing and shopping

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kim.kim  |  January 23, 2007 at 10:30 am

    I don’t think I know very much about the girl you are going to adopt and make your daughter. They don’t know where her parents are? Is it going to be a closed adoption?

    You must have so many conflicting feelings about this having grown up adopted and having had a less than joyful reunion experience.

    I think you will be a good mother, you will have an awareness of what it’s like and you will be able to talk to her about your own experience as an adoptee.

    If it was me I would want to know if her mother gave her a name and I would keep that name, I would want to know the circumstances that led to her being in an orphanage. I would have many more questions than answers.

    It can’t be easy.

    Very thought provoking post.

    Reply
  • 2. actofkindness  |  January 23, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    I have my heart broken every time I leave the orphanages, and have to leave the kids behind. Every time you arive and they come running to you and jump into your arms, every time they hug you so tight that you feel they are actualy going to become a part of you, feeling there hearts pound so hard you think it will come right through there chests, Watching them grow up without families. Knowing that for some of them they think of me as a father figure one of the only males they ever have contact with . I only see them once a year,but remember them every day . And these are the lucky ones, because I know that they are treeted with love in my absence . I DON”T CARE WHAT ANYONE THINKS. It is my hearts cry that someone would take these kids home and heep love on them. I DON’T CARE WHAT IS THE POLITICALY CORRECT THING TO DO , I don’t care whether you are going to keep the same name , wether you are going to take regular pilgramiges to there land of birth…..You just love them, support them , and make sure that they know that you will always be there for them. The rest of the world can go on around you, thinking and talking about whatever they want. This comitment and this bond is between you and your Daughter…. Thankyou for making a difference in the life of the one!

    Reply
  • 3. mom2one  |  January 23, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    You know what? There’s no magic list of what you “should” be doing. I mean — honoring her birth parents, her country of origin, recognizing that adoption includes loss also. But it’s not only about loss; I do think that sometimes some of us, myself included, get TOO focused on the loss part.

    You’re a sensitive person who is in a unique position because you’re also an adoptee. You will do right by your future daughter; I know it. I agree, too; I don’t think adopting/having adopted is anything to be ashamed of. I want Nate to be proud of having been adopted; it’s a part of who he is, after all.

    And while we probably can’t change the world, we can change our corner of the world, and that does matter. I really believe that.

    You’re doing great things in your corner of the world. 🙂

    Reply
  • 4. thalya  |  January 25, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    What a great post, imtina. You’ve given me plenty to think about (again!)

    Reply
  • 5. Tiffanni  |  January 26, 2007 at 10:34 am

    I don’t even know what to say. Great post.

    Reply
  • 6. Margie  |  February 1, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    “I can do what I know to be true and right.”

    Right on. This is an absolutely beautiful post, and so so true. Thank you for saying what you want to say!

    Reply
  • 7. Petunia  |  February 2, 2007 at 6:59 am

    I am an adoptee and an adopted mom too and I couldn’t have articulated these feelings so well. Thank you for this great post!

    Reply
  • 8. Cindy La Joy  |  February 6, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Loss is a huge part of adoption, one that isn’t acknowledged enough. But I can’t very well ignore it when my then 2 year old said “My first mommy left me…” completely unprompted. To this day he harbors deep insecurity when we are out of his sight even in our own home. I am asked always “You aren’t leaving me, are you?”. Loss is a part of it, but so is love and home and a place to belong finally. Orphans are in orphanages for a vriet of reasons, and probably will be until the end of time. Be it death, poverty or other reasons, it doesn’t really matter in the long run…what matters is there is a kid who doesn’t feel precious to any specific person, and that is what we all need to feel whole. It takes a lifetime to work out all these issues for all sides of the triad, and it gives us lots of food for thought. I have always said my kids would have been better off if their birth families could have kept them, much to many of my friends’ dismay, but it is true. We are now their best chance for happiness, but we will never be what would have been best. Cindy

    Reply
  • 9. Louise  |  February 13, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    A very thought provoking post, with thoughts that are in my head right now as we are in the early stages of pursuing a domestic adoption 🙂

    I really like “actsofkindness'” perspective, as someone who has visited an orphanage firsthand.

    I look forward to hearing more about your adoption journey.

    Best wishes,
    Louise

    Reply
  • 10. link  |  July 31, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    hi

    Agree

    Reply

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