Friday, September 18, 2009

What No One Told Me . . .

. . . 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.


西班牙人 said...

I love this post. Your blog in general is full of wonderful ideas and sensitivity.

I am not and AP. I have a half Chinese daughter (and a Chinese husband) and reading your blog is of help to me in many senses.

Love and the eternal link I'll share with China through my daughter moved me to learn Chinese and spend X months in China every year. I'm ready for whatever the future brings, be it race issues at school, identity problems, you name it. Thanks for the blog, you make me think and be prepared.

Sorry for my English and regards.

pickel said...

I agree that children are not meant to be adopted.Children should be with their first families. But, it happens, doesn't it?

Thanks for linking!

Anonymous said...

that some women in Korea are forced to give up their children for purely financial reasons. I had thought that single birth mothers in Korea "made adoption plans" solely because of the stigma and discrimination they and their children will face. (That's bad too, but tougher to fix than money issues.) I don't mean to minimize the harsh treatment many single mothers in Korea (and their children) do receive, even from their own relatives, but more women would keep their babies if financial assistance were available to them.

Melanie Recoy said...

I'm glad you said the things you did here.

holly said...

Love love love this post too!

I've avoided the "Grown in My Heart" blog as well solely because of the name (gag) but it's really very interesting - thanks!

Same with the China adoption corruption. Something I personally wanted to deny until very recently. Can't turn a blind eye to it any longer, sadly.

And yes, the "love" for the referral picture. It's not what I feel for my daughter now, 6 months into our lives with her. My attachment to her has been just as much a process as hers is to me.

And all this from an "Angry Adoptee" LOL!

a Tonggu Momma said...

Amen, especially my true belief that corruption did not exist within the China program. *sigh* Sadly, I now realize it is everywhere.

Unknown said...

That last paragraph really resonates. Thanks Malinda.

Hope Zoe is doing ok. Did you decide to talk to the school again?

Anonymous said...

No one told me that Chinese parents would bother adopting anyone. The agency swore to me that no one in China would be interested in these girls. Now we know that Chinese families have informally adopted hundreds of thousands of girls, many informally.

FauxClaud said...

As I read through these posts, what I am realizing how amazing it is that while none told us these things.. we HAVE learned them..

I am just feeling so greatful what what people know now.. because, what this carnival is showing that yeah,, together we are "getting" it..and with that understanding.. we not only rewrite the truth that is adoption, but we change the very fabric.

Samantha Franklin said...

It is so refreshing to hear adoptive mothers who have open hearts and ears and voices. Thank you for writing.