Monday, September 22, 2008

ADOPTIVE parenting -- a balancing act

All parenting is a balancing act, but adoptive parenting is just that much more challenging, isn't it? Or at least it's challenging when it comes to adoption talk! I just came across this great post, Lies and truth both hurt, so tell the truth (click, then scroll down to last post, dated August 02, 2008) from Margie at Third Mom -- here's a taste, but read the whole thing:

It’s complicated, isn’t it? Navigating these waters is challenging - more challenging than pretty much anything I've faced so far.

To start with, there’s the challenge of finding the truth. . . .

Then there’s the challenge of knowing what to do with the truth if you can find it. There are certainly adoptive parents, probably even adoption professionals, who still ascribe to the notion that we should protect our children from painful truths. I hope that these are few and far between, but my guess is there are more out there than I’d like to think. . . .

One of the things that’s completely absent in the information my family has about our children’s first parents is what they want our children to know about them. The information we have is delivered entirely in the third person, and was certainly not written by our children's parents. I know now that much of it is pure boilerplate: the same awkward translations appear in the files of many children adopted at the same time. Meaningless statements based on meaningless information make it far too easy for adoptive parents to fill in the gaps. I honestly think it’s impossible for APs not to spin the information we share, positively or negatively. Much as we may try to keep to the plain, simple, truth, the risk of filling in blanks in an effort to assuage our children’s sadness or to bind them closer to us is always present. . . .

It’s like walking a tightrope, blindfolded, with my children balanced on my shoulders. I’ve taken steps I hope are sound, and so far we’re still standing. But if I go down, they come with me - and they deserve much, much better.

1 comment:

Third Mom said...

Thank you very much for the shoutout - I'm glad to have found your blog through the link.

And it definitely has been a balancing act for us. I think when our children first arrived, I expected that I'd lay the foundation and they'd move into life well-equipped to handle it all. It just isn't that simple, though.

I think if you're thinking and talking about these issues, though, you really ARE doing the best for your children.

Looking forward to reading more.