Monthly Archives: January 2010

Trafficking

Outside of China thousands of families have been created or expanded through adoption of Chinese infants. But apparently within China there have been and continue to be instances where families have been ripped apart by child traffickers. As more details come forth (some don’t add up), the truths will rise to the surface. China is not unique in trafficking; other countries have had infant and child trafficking as well.

It is difficult not to feel deeply for any parent that could be unwittingly enmeshed within this fiasco. The ramifications could prove heartbreaking for adoptive parents and their children.

And while all of this is being sorted out, what of the discussions with the child who has been adopted, from China, possibly the provinces in question? Adoptive parents are already faced with helping their children work through issues of loss and identity and now they may also find themselves helping their child make sense of something that never should have happened and to resolve the unanswerable question, “Was I one of those babies?”

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Filed under Adoption Issues, Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Advocacy, China, International Adoption, The International Mom

“I Want…”

It was no surprise when Holden shared, with all of us, his plans for his future family one evening (hopefully somewhere in the distant future—say ten or more years), “I want to adopt.”

Out of the mouth of my babe, Holden. (Yes, he is almost seventeen, but my babies will always be my babies no matter how old they are…) He is an example of how adoption transforms the very lives it touches. Adoption impacts families forever, by affecting every member. Within our family adoption is and has been a wonderful way to become a family.

My hope is that all touched by adoption are moved as we have been and continue to be.

Mark and I are proud that Holden understands that family is more than blood and generativity. We feel he appreciates the sacred bonds of family—love, respect, healthy dependence and interdependence, cooperation, consideration, empathy, and compassion. In a family everyone has equal membership, regardless of how they joined—through marriage, birth or adoption.

We do expect that he will find someone to share his dream with him, however right now he should concentrate on getting into college.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, The International Mom

Not Abandoned, but Left—To Be Found

Growing up, “A” was for attitude. And as I grew older, into the edgy years of puberty, “A” became “AA”—for attitude adjustment. My father liked to say, “You need an attitude adjustment.” Frequently spot-on, his comment was met with a snarl and affirming nod from reluctant me.

As I raise my own kids, the “A” word carries a different meaning. “A” stands for abandoned—an emotionally-loaded, negatively-charged word currently tied to adoption.

Abandoned means being forsaken, deserted without any moral or emotional attachment. Discarded.

Upon hearing the word “abandoned,” often attached to their adoption story, the adopted child’s perception is they weren’t wanted, not loved, undeserving of being with their birth parent(s). What wonderful baggage to have hanging over and in the head of an adoptee as they work through issues of loss and identity. Talk about stacking the deck against someone…

It’s no wonder that adoptees struggle with self-esteem and control. By believing they were abandoned, adoptees still see themselves as of little worth. They begin their life story with an enormous deficit.

I recently listened to Aubry as she inserted “abandoned” within a conversation we were having about her adoption. Her voice grew shrill, horrified.  I struggled to keep any emotion from my face as I heard the pain in her voice and saw it in her expression. I went on to explain that she wasn’t abandoned—but that she was left, most likely by her deeply loving birth mother who was faced with an insurmountable situation, to be found.

My perspective contradicts the majority of the adoption community. But truly, I believe this is so because many birth parents have the other options available and one of those is not to bring a child into this world. The birth parents chose life for my daughters and son.

Adoption experts tell adoptive parents not to shy away from the word “abandoned,” but to use it in order to normalize it and empower their children—as they will be questioned about their adoptee status and past by others. I disagree. “Abandoned” is a minefield.  “Abandoned” rarely is the true or entire story. I don’t use it. I don’t want my kids using it or others using it around them—they assume too much and they often assume wrong. This discussion will continue and so will the education of my kids and of others.

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Filed under Adoption Issues, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, The International Mom