Do you come across my entries about adoption where I'm kind of mad...
Do you come across my entries about adoption where I'm kind of mad or sad and run, convinced I'm a demented, angry harpy? Do you come back for more but feel afraid to comment, thinking I may jump on you, attack you? Are you annoyed at my use of "daughter" and "mother" in reference to K and I?
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Or perhaps I ascribe too much power to myself. Perhaps I'm simply worth a look, and not much more, except to people who already "know" me. And that is fine with me, too. Not every entry or blog has to be earth-shattering, or inspire devoted cult-like followings. That's what we have I Can Has Cheezburger? for.
I just wonder.
I don't explain my relationship with K's parents very often, mostly out of privacy concerns for them, and me. But these are people I love. They have done so much more than adopt a daughter. Back in the days when "open adoption" only meant letters and pictures through an agency, these two people welcomed me. They embraced my family. They gave me their names and address and phone numbers, trusting me with their identity and location. I suspect more than one well-meaning cousin or grandma questioned them, albeit gently, about the wisdom of that choice at the beginning, fueled by the early slew of "evil, crazy birth mother returns to steal our child!" movies that Lifetime used to love.
They didn't listen. With no handbook, no online support groups, no guides whatsoever, we all stumbled and baby-stepped and then finally, gloriously, ran headlong into a fully open adoption. In a time when I would not have trusted myself with a goldfish or even a cactus, in a time when my life was a near-fatal wreck, these two people stood by me. They saw the me I was underneath that mess, the potential in me, and they offered me love and trust, a real relationship with the child who was their daughter now, when I was convinced I deserved nothing. I have never had to ask or beg. They have just offered me everything. I have pictures and mementos and stories. I have visits and gifts andI have seen my daughter grow up. When I talk about the pain I sometimes feel, I know it's hard to also see that I love what I do have with them, and with her.
But I do.
Of course, now I have grown up and away from the mess I was; I fulfilled their trust in me and turned myself into a functioning human being again. Not that I'm perfect. I do think I'm someone my daughter can be proud of, though. I think I succeeded there.
When I talk, and others talk, about pain in adoption, or what's not working that we'd like to change, it isn't an automatic sentence against adoptive parents. It's not meant to say "don't ever be happy about your family, because you caused this pain"; not from me, not from many. We only want to explore our feelings, too. Validating them doesn't mean you have to hate yourself. Recognizing that there are unethical practices in adoption in many forms doesn't mean you shouldn't feel joy in your baby's first smile.
I am close to many wonderful adoptive parents. I very often cannot imagine their children in any other families, but the thing is: they can . These ladies and gentlemen recognize that there is some loss inherent in adoption, big or small, "needed" or no, and they still find joy in their kids while they do their best to keep communications open with first parents, honor their childrens' expressions of hurt at the loss, and every other thing that consists of the work of adoptive parenting. They are some of my dearest friends and I can only hope to be the kinds of parents they are. They hold me up when I cry for my relinquished child. How could I automatically attack adoptive parents, when so many of them support me through every single thing I deal with?
So. If you're out there at all, lurking, I hope you'll continue to drop by and read. I hope you'll check out the adoptee blogs and the first parent blogs and the adoptive parent blogs I have links to. Some of the things are hard to read, at first. But if you step away for a moment, many of the hard things start to make sense, I've found. If you take a break and read again, you can see what lies beneath all that hurt, you'll sense the truths there,and use it to help you and your children on your journey.
Merry Christmas, everyone. And please, a little peace in blogland.
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Posted in Childrens services Post Date 12/10/2016