Monday, May 3, 2010

Adoption thoughts

Last night, Mr. at Home and I spent a couple of hours sitting around outside just talking. We hit every topic on the planet, including work, vacation, travel, China, adoption. We talked about going back to China and visiting the city and orphanage where L spent part of her life. We talked about her birthparents and if she will ever have the chance to know them.

Which might be why I had such a vivid dream last night. I dreamed that I was the birthparent. That I watched as she was adopted as a baby into a large family (ironically one that I know. Rebecca and Alfonso, I dreamed you had something like 8 or 9 kids. Just to prepare you :-)). I dreamed that I stood one day and watched as she climbed into a car with her brothers and sisters. I looked at her through the back window and she noticed me standing there so she smiled and waved. It took all my strength not to cry as I smiled back. In my dream I knew there was a reason she was there and not with me. I knew she was happy with her new family. I knew that she was loved and cherished, but no matter how much her family loved her, it wasn't like *I* loved her. It was the most heart-wrenching dream I've ever had.

Today, one of the blogs I follow posted about adoption. She's been writing recently about the Christian call to adoption. She linked to another blog I've read a few times before. That blogger wrote a long essay on what it takes to adopt. It's a good read, but hard read. She then linked to another blog who had gotten some negative responses to some links she had published to an adult adoptee blog (who happened to be adopted using the same small adoption agency we used). Who has some strong opinions.

Lots of linkage, I know. But very interesting perspectives.

As adoptive parents, we look at adoption from the perspective we know. We know the after. After the handover. After the homecoming. After they learn the language and ways of our home. We think about the joy we had on finally seeing our new child for the first time. Finally holding them. Finally seeing them sleeping in the room we so carefully prepared. We felt *joy*, even in the midst of all the sleep deprivation of the beginning. We don't like to think about the fear and confusion and grief the child felt on these occasions.

I will say that I don't necessarily agree with every word from those links. Parts come across as very negative, but there are many negatives associated with adoption and to ignore them or pretend they don't exist causes more harm than good. In order for a child to be adopted, they must first lose the most important people in their life. Then they must lose everything they know and are comfortable with. The fact that L is adopted will color every action and reaction for the rest of her life. Her earliest experiences were filled with repeated attachment and loss. I'm not claiming it as an excuse or a reason to blame every bad thing on being a "victim", it's just a fact of her life.

There are also many and greater positives associated with adoption. Adoption gives a child a more loving, stable, and permanent environment than state-run care. Adoption allows a family the opportunity to love and nurture a child and it gives a child the opportunity to bless a family. It's a mutually beneficial relationship, even if it is a mutually difficult relationship. Adoptive parents have no control or choice in the loss that our children experienced before we knew them. We can't erase it or change it or hide it. We have to face it openly with our child and allow them to explore it. It's part of our story now, too.

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