Saturday, October 25, 2008

On Gratefulness and Controversy

First, let me say that I really, really appreciate all the feedback I've gotten from everyone to this blog. I have been reading and considering what you've written to me, and frankly, I'm so new to this medium that I'm still figuring out how to respond to comments, etc., so I'll do that soon in the Comments section, I promise! (It matters to me a lot that you're reading this blog and commenting on it, and I definitely don't want you to think otherwise.

In the meantime I want to touch upon a few things. I have gotten such a strong response from people (both via the blog and in person) about my reticence to adopt a child myself, that I think the topic deserves some more time here. On Thursday night at my knitting group, while we all knotted away on our various projects, my friend Meredith said something that has really stuck with me: when I was trying to explain to her how I think it would be too hard for me to be the mother of an adopted child because I have all my own pain about being adopted to deal with, she said "but don't you think that most of the time, the way we feel about things before they happen is completely different than the way we feel about them once they've happened?" (At least I think that's what she said; it's a hard idea to recap.) Anyway, she has a point. For me, things almost always turn out differently than I expect them to, especially emotionally. So does that mean that I should go ahead and adopt a child? I don't know.

One friend of mine who is an adoptive parent is currently dealing with her 9-year-old daughter's occasional statements of "I don't want to be adopted!" The thought of trying to someday deftly handle those sentiments from my own adopted child stops me in my tracks. My immediate response would be to say, "I don't want to be adopted either!" Making your child not be adopted is not something anyone can undo, even our parents, supreme protectors from all boogeymen real and imagined. And adoption can really be a boogeyman, a shadow, an apparition that follows us around, no matter how hard we try to shake it or ignore it. The specter is still there.

Some would argue that my adoptee status qualifies me to empathize with and deeply understand the pain of an adopted child, so I would be a good choice to be an adoptive parent. but there's a part of me that thinks that exposing myself to that specter of pain would be my undoing.

But who knows, it might be the thing that makes me feel whole. The stakes are high, and I don't yet know how to make this decision.

I was so glad to hear from Dawn, an adoptive mom, that she appreciated my need to have children who are biologically realated to me. I also really respect her opinion that adoption has its positive and negative aspects; it's not perfect. I concur.

Finally, I want to say that Maria's comment that fundamentally, we're all broken links, and that each moment in our life "is an effort to connect to [our] broken parts" is well-taken. I agree that as humans, we all feel alienated in some way, whether we're adopted or not. Sometimes our feelings of alienation become our strongest points of connection with each other. That's why I'm glad that so many who are not touched by adoption are reading this blog anyway; it's another way to forge a bond.

Thanks, everyone, for reading.

1 comment:

Lori (ball) Horton said...

I wanted to comment on the idea that "we are all broken links"...I've been reading the blog (and thank you for sharing it with me), not as someone touched by adoption, but as a writer and mother. Since before my son was born (he's now 14 months) I started writing and thinking about the process of separation--how his story and my story start at one point together and slowly over time they unravel. I imagine that unravelling as sometimes a thing beautifully fluid -- at other times a really difficult, hard to get through, snag. So the idea that mother and child are both link and broken link I share with you.