. . . about adoption. Grown in My Heart (love the blog, hate the name (sorry!)!) is doing a blog carnival on the topic of "What No One Told Me About Adoption." They've asked bloggers to address the topic and link it to their blog.
HUGE topic! I could write reams about it, but no one wants to slog through that. I finally decided that I'd do a list with embedded links, kind of an index to previous posts (so self-referential, so egotistical!). That way, you can easily read as much or as little as you like. Not only is this my "no one told me" list, it's also my "what I've learned since adopting my two children from China" list. And it's my "what I hope all prospective adoptive parents learn before they adopt" list.
No one told me . . .
. . . that adoption corruption, from which I smugly thought China was immune, infects China, too.
. . . that the birth parents I tried so hard to avoid are now (even in absentia) in the very center of our lives, and that I'd be OK with that.
. . . that adoption would become a large part of my professional life, or that I'd be blogging about it (or how therapeutic blogging would be!).
. . . that my children would question, wonder, experience and understand the loss and grief surrounding adoption, far earlier than I expected.
. . . that birth mothers are NOT the "exotic Other," but instead, women just like me.
. . . that anyone could own so many books about adoption!
. . . that adoption is not a one-time event, but a life-long event for adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth families.
. . . that racial identity formation and Chinese heritage would become important enough for our family to move to China for five months.
. . . that I'd learn so much that would help my kids from "angry adoptees," who weren't angry at all (and when they were, had a right to be!), but simply speaking their truths. And what's wrong with anger, anyway?!
. . . that for adopted kids, talking about it helps, but nothing "cures" adoption loss.
. . . that children are not "meant to be" adopted, they do not grow in the "wrong tummy" as a way-station to adoptive parents' homes. My loving God did not want my children's birth parents or my children to suffer pain and loss just so I could be a mommy.
. . . that what you feel when you look at a referral picture isn't love, that love grows as your child becomes a real person to you, not an abstract idea, and that love means accepting unconditionally all parts of your child -- their birth parents, their life before you met, their loss, their pain, their anger, their joy.