Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Horns of a Dilemma

Maya didn't mean to poke me with the proverbial horns of a dilemma, but she surely did.  Zoe spent the night with a friend Friday night. so that meant Maya slept in my bed (and frequently poked me with her stuffed unicorn's horn, too!).  It also meant that Maya got to pick out a night-time video all on her own, with no interference from big sister.  Not surprisingly, Maya picked Hercules.

After Hercules finds out that he was adopted, he runs off to the Temple of Zeus to follow a clue as to who his birth parents might be.  And that's where Maya's difficult question came:  "Mama, if I ran off to find my birth parents, what would you do?"

Now, Maya loves to ask questions about what I would do if she ran away, flew away, turned into a bunny and hopped away, etc.  The answer she seems to be seeking then is the "permanancy" answer -- I'll follow you, I'll never let you go, you're mine forever.  And she loves getting those answers from me.  I say that it isn't that easy to get rid of me, that she's stuck with me forever, and she giggles wildly.

But now Maya's made it complicated -- what if she runs off to find her birth parents?  I don't want to answer that I won't let her go, which sounds like I won't let you search for your birth parents.  So how to answer?

Finally, I said, "You won't have to run off to find your birth parents -- if you want me to, I'll go with you!  I'll help you any way you want me to when or if you want to look for your birth parents."

Maya was a bit surprised and intrigued by that answer.  She had a slew of questions about how I could help, and we talked about some of the difficulties in searching in China.  She was noncommital about searching.

Finally, I told her, "I love you and always want to help you.  That's 'cause I'm your mom forever and that's what moms do!"  The horns disarmed, at least temporarily. . . .


Wendy said...

I think that is the only response. Yes, of course you will help her (as long as she wants your input). Before our search M asked me all of the time what all we were doing, what I could do, etc. I told her I would look and look until the answers were found; if they weren't, at least we tried. Luckily, it worked.

Linda said...

I think your answer was very good.

"I'll follow you, I'll never let you go, you're mine forever" is something many ap's say...all with the best intentions, but leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many adoptees.

We do not "belong" to anyone, and many adoptees can feel the sense of ownership of their ap's.

We have 4 real parents, and all four are our "forever parents".

It's nice to see an adoptive parent offer their adoptive child help IF the adoptee indeed wants their help. Searching and reunion are highly personal journeys, and an ap should only be involved if that is the adoptee's choice.

Mei Ling said...

Like Linda said, there is a very thin line between reassuring an adopted child that they're safe, well & loved within their adoptive family and nothing bad will ever happen to them, and brinking on the idea of "possessing" a child.

Based on Maya's question, this time, I think you did the right thing.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Me, too. That is a seriously tricky one to navigate - such a balance is needed. The Tongginator has asked us to search, and we will, but I often worry is it still the right thing to do? Will she be sad that we overstepped when, as a six-year-old, she didn't fully understand?

Jessica said...

Interesting question by Tonggu Mama. We were advised to search for birth parents while our children are in the latency period, before puberty. The reason is that for many children--adopted or not--identity issues often present most strongly in puberty. The more information a child has to fill in the missing blanks about who he is and what his roots are, the less he has to wonder about.

The decision is personal for every family. Just sharing what we learned. With respect, Jessica.

travelmom and more said...

My daughter's orphanage group has created a search group and some parents are paying a PI to find additional information that may lead to finding birthparents like who found the children, police and/or hospital records and at some point interviews with finders and people in and around areas where our children were found. I am not sure if they will find out anything, but my guess is if she wants to you try and search for her birthparents there are a growing number of resources out there to help you/her search.