Most of all, I'm wondering, when did writing about motherhood get to be so complicated? Toss in adoption. The home study process with its series of self-studies focusing on our ideas regarding parenting and our child rearing philosophy gear us toward extreme self-improvement. This is where the rubber meets the road, particularly in International and transracial adoption. It's the juncture where a fire is lit in us to question our values, and often this process leads some of us to judge others whose models do not match our own.I remember my very first competitive mothering moment. . . .
We accept the need to put extra effort into adoption mothering. We read everything we can get our hands on about adoption. We participate in adoption conferences, email group discussions, and support groups. In this setting, is it little wonder that in our eagerness to become enlightened, in our sincere desire to better ourselves, that we have a tendency to become overly critical?
For as long as I have been a mother which began on a joyful day in 1981, one thing has remained a constant. Within our sisterhood of adoptive mothers, we are a bit hard on each other. Comparisons are constantly made, and someone always draws the short straw. Perhaps it's because the adoption process with its long wait list to be matched with a child drives us to be competitive.
We had (and still have) a close group of friends who waited together to adopt from China, and all adopted within a few months of each other, with all the children aged within months of each other. At one of our first big get-togethers after we'd all returned, one of the moms did the "look why my child can do" thing, and adorable baby could point to parts of her body as mom asked, "Where's your nose? Where's your mouth?"
Zoe couldn't do those things (none of the other girls could, either!) It hadn't even occurred to me to teach her those things. I was still so exhausted with the oh-so-new day-to-day parenting job that it was a miracle we'd even made it to the party clean and clothed!
But by our next get-together? Zoe could identify a bazillion body parts! And so could all the other girls!