Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Into the Ring

The blog world is a really amazing little world- I say "little" with a rather large grain of salt. I love the fact that I can connect with all sorts of people from all walks of life. But, some of my favorite people to connect with are people who are bound together by the thin, string of adoption.

It's such a narrow tether- it really is. Sometimes it looks quite transparent & other times, its a rather thick strap and you couldn't miss it if you tried. But so many people, myself included are bound by this string. And I am constantly checking myself with the fact of how many thoughts and journeys and ideas people have about adoption. Some I agree with, wholeheartedly.... some I find myself feeling rather wishy-washy & others I just cannot, for the life of me, agree with.

Now, please don't mistake me. I'm not writing this post to say that I have all the answers. All I have is the sum of my life experiences as a (now) adult adoptee. Oh, yes- that's right. I did mention that I am bound to the community for adoption.

I was adopted at birth. Well, actually, I was bound for the family I call my family before I even opened my eyes on this world. My parents were set to adopt me before the girl who was carrying me inside her gave birth.

And yes, I said the "girl." Because that's what my 'birth mother' was... she was a girl. A child, herself. She didn't WANT to raise a child. Any child at that moment in time. And, at 17, can any of us really blame her? Her family wanted her to keep the child (me).... another member of the family wanted her to give the baby to them. But she wouldn't. She didn't want to be around her child... that wasn't her child.

So, I was adopted into my family.

As I grew up, I knew that I was "adopted."
But I also grew up knowing that.... really, it wasn't all that much of a big deal. No, I didn't grow in the stomach of the woman I call my mom. But at the end of the day, I double dog dare ANYONE to say that I'm not her child.

(and if anyone takes me up on that dare, they'll receive a verbal dressing down, the likes of which they've never received before..... and then they'll have to deal with my mama.)

There were no "celebrate your adoption birthday" days in my life. I have one birthday, thank you. I was brought up knowing that people come into families in different ways- and no one way makes you more "special" or more "different" or anything like that. You're simply a member of your family. Period.

I was NEVER introduced to anyone by my mother (or anyone else in my family) says, "This is Taylor. She's my adopted daughter." EVER. I was just their's.

I belonged to my family. And there was never a question about that. Maybe it was because my mom was very honest with me as I grew up & gave me AGE APPROPRIATE ANSWERS.

There's a concept that I have seen, sadly, lacking. Some parents want to be so honest & 'help their adopted children process their pain' so much that, I think, they are adding to their kids confusion and their 'pain'. I'm not really sure what constantly reminding your kids that they are 'adopted' or 'have another mommy and daddy somewhere' is supposed to do for these kids sense of belonging and well-being. And in some families, where the children are of a different ethnic orgin then their mom & dad.... they know they are different. Really. You don't need to point it out to them.

You might say that I'm not a big fan of "open adoptions." Where did this concept come from? How does this work?

"Come here little Susie. I'm your mom. But this is your other mom. And you love your daddy, but this is your other daddy."


Kids need identity. They have to have it. They must know who they are and where they belong in this world.
If a child grows up and has questions or curiousity about their 'birth parents', fine. But let that be their journey. I don't like the idea of parents choosing it for them. I really don't.

And now you might ask if I have ever tried to find the woman who gave birth to me. The answer is, no. Why? Well, to be honest- she's really not anything to me. Whoa, harsh, you might be saying... but its the truth. She's not my mother. And I refuse to call her that or to reference her in that manner. That she carried me & gave birth to me, I will be forever grateful.

Because she didn't have to. I was a post-Roe v. Wade baby.

But that's where my feelings end. She's not my family.

And she didn't want the child she carried at 17. She wanted her own life. And I have to respect that. I do respect that.

I am thankful that I was adopted. I love, love, love my family. And they love me. I am a part of a family that I couldn't imagine being without. And, I don't want to imagine life without them. I belong ... here. Am I 'grateful' to my parents for adopting me.... well, no more than any child is grateful for being born. Thankful and grateful are to different things.

And now, as an adult... as a parent myself, I can say that there really isn't a big difference between having a child whom you gave birth to or adopting them. There is not. If it seems that there is- that's something you have perpetuated. Sorry, but its the truth.

So... in conclusion. My two cents for whatever they are worth. Let your children BE your children. Don't make diffferences between them. Don't. Yes, adopting a child from birth is waaaay different from adopting an older child. And yes, an older child or a child that comes from a different ethic origin will have some different needs- THEY are the ones that might need extra care in the form of counseling.

All that is fine- but, please... Please send your sweet children the message every day that they are yours and you are their's. Give them the identity of being your children & of totally and completely belonging.

Thanks for listening.
November is National Adoption Month. There are so many children in foster homes that need the identity that comes from being a part of a family that loves them.

Once a child hits 3, 4, & 5 their chances of finding a family are reduced to crazy small percent rates.

Once they hit 10, they have a next to nothing chance.

No home.
No family.
No mom and dad to love them and to call their own.

Just something to think about.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your words on adoption. My husband and I have been considering adoption for several years, but it seems to me, that so many of the issues surrounding present adoptions only serve to confuse the children involved. I realize that everyone is only doing what they feel is right, but it doesn't make sense to me. I am tired of going to adoption meetings just to hear about Christmas dinners where the parents, child, and birthparents all have a great time. I can't help but think that there are going to be a lot of adults with identity problems in the future. It is nice to know that there are others out there who feel similar to me—I generally feel that I am that crazy lady on the on the sidelines with really out there ideas.

We're going to start paperwork for foster adoption in January, and I am very excited. There are so many children out there who need good homes, and I am happy that we can provide one.
— Elsie K.