Sunday, March 8, 2009

Connection and Rivalry

I found a thought-provoking quote in the review of a book I have yet to read, Cultures of Transnational Adoption, edited by Toby Alice Volkman. I recognize the names of several contributors to the book, so I'm putting it on my reading list (which is so long now that I will die before I complete it!).

Here's the quote:
Adoptive families find themselves simultaneously asserting the possibility and indeed the daily reality of forming deep and meaningful parent-child relationships with a child who comes not just from another woman's body, but from another country, and at the same time recognising the prior and continuing umbilical pull that links their child physically and psychologically with another person and place. The need to understand and come to terms with this, often unknown, woman, seems to be as great for many adoptive mothers as it is for their children (contrary to the social work script that usually assumes adoptive parents will seek to deny this rival presence).

3 comments:

Mei-Ling said...

I think many people find it hard to believe that the Chinese mothers of relinquishment are "real."

I get that many of them do acknowledge those people as being "real" - in the living, breathing sense of the word...

But considering all these unknown women are on the other side of the globe, and adoptive parents have no names, no birthdates, no addresses, no *nothing* to go by...

Well, I don't know. I'd find it hard to believe.

I remember that personally, even after I saw the picture of my mother, she was still like a ghost to me.

Unknown.

Anonymous said...

"the need to understand and come to terms with this, often unknown, woman, seems to be as great for many adoptive mothers as it is for their children."

My concern is that if the birth mom is “glamorized” too much by the adoptive mom, there could be identity issues in the adoptee.

Adoptees would probably say I am in rival mode. No true. I can guide her and discuss along the way, but I want her thoughts to be her own, not what I spoon feed her.

If she adores and loves her birth mom, then that is wonderful and her own idea. And I’ll respect that.

But if “I” state that I love this woman who is faceless and tell my child repeatedly as such, could it be confusing for her ? Did the pendulum swing too far from 20 years ago from “not talking” to “overdoing it”?

I am not sure, but my instincts are up on that one.

Anonymous said...

I understand where you are coming from. I too find it a little hard to relate to the faceless people across the globe who gave birth to my children. I do think that they feel a sense of loss and that my children will feel that too. They don't, yet, but in time I imagine they will.