Tag Archives: Adoptive Child’s Identity

Honoring the Maternal Bonds of All Mothers

Mother’s Day. A day I share with millions of women all over the globe, although they may not be celebrating it. More  importantly I also share Mother’s Day with three other exceptionally special women I’ve never met. However, I know them quite well because they reside in and share my daily life.

These women and I hug in the mornings and evenings. And on the other days we’re together—“gifts” of extra time, like weekends and vacations, the hugs pile up into a yummy concoction of sweet feelings that last long after the physical closeness ceases.

These women engage me in wonderful, and often enlightening, conversation. They share their deepest wishes, wildest dreams, emotional injuries and profound pain, happiest moments, imaginative and silly stories, fantasized and real fears, and simple hopes.

We laugh together. We cry together. We learn together.

We love together.

We grow together.

These women, my children’s birth mothers, share the sacredness of their essence through their children. Through my children.

Through our children.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to my children’s birth mothers, from me. Our children think of you and we talk about you. They know, love and respect you. Our children are doing well. They are safe. They are thriving. They are loved beyond what words can express. We wish you health, love and happiness.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, China, Grief, Growing Tweens & Teens, Guatemala, Loss, The International Mom

Reflecting on Trayvon and My Son

Not all families look alike, nor are they created in the same way. This is true of mine, and although I am always aware that my family doesn’t match, and that my kids are at risk for prejudice and racism, the murder of 17-year-old hoodie-wearing Trayvon Martin, shot and killed by self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman (Hispanic) on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, FL, on his way to visit his father in a gated community from the 7-Eleven, armed with only Skittles and ice-tea, hit close to the bone. Trayvon was black.

The tragedy begs that I reflect deeply on the prejudice and racism that contributed to horrific event, and what these factors, as they stand now, portend for my children in the future. I attempt to assess how my Hispanic son will be seen by others, perhaps looking suspicious, as Zimmermann stated about Trayvon, because the assumptions may be that he does not “belong” where he lives. Or works. Or plays. All because of the color of his skin and the ethnic features that scream his heritage.

Raised by white parents, our son reflects our values and attitudes. He has also acquired a case of “white privilege,” courtesy of us.  He is comfortable being anywhere, among anyone, and that could be a detriment in the future when he is in the company of others who are not comfortable with him, because he is a teenager or a young man or a man who exudes confidence. And he is Hispanic.

Adolescent boys are targets for law enforcement. Add in some color and they become a bigger target. I was taught by my parents that the police are my friends and protectors; Hispanic and Black parents teach their kids to fear them, and often for good reason. Look around you. Observe who’s pulled over in the communities in which you drive through…

How do we “hammer” it home to our son about how he is viewed outside of his safe and loving family and circle of supportive friends? How do we, with our “white privilege,” help our son who has absorbed it, understand the seriousness of being treated a certain way by people because of his appearance? How do we teach him to “take it,” while also standing up for himself?  You see, we can talk the talk, however we can’t walk the walk… We are not of his race or ethnicity, and so we rely on others—peers, role models and professionals of his race and ethnicity.  Will it be enough? I pray daily that it will be.

Trayvon’s murder is a senseless tragedy.  As a parent and a human being I hope you are sickened by what has happened and are watching the events as they continue to unfold. I hope you use his murder as a springboard for discussions with your children.

There was no need for Trayvon to die. This sad truth has brought the ugly national history of race and racism into the spotlight. As humans we need to address these wounds; we need to talk about race and racism. We need to cry, together. We need to pray for Trayvon, his family, friends, and for the countless others who believe and act in such ways because they are ignorant, fearful and weak. We need to work towards healing, and that begins with all of us.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Growing Tweens & Teens, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, Multiracial Families, Racial Identity, The International Mom

The Adoption Interview Project: Making It Real, Part Two: More with Andrea…

Yesterday I posted the first of my two-part interview with Andrea, a birth mom whom I was paired with through The Adoption Interview Project. This initiative was created for the purpose of sharing viewpoints, insight and creating dialogue. I share this interview with you so that you will have more awareness about adoption and its complexities.

In the simplest explanation, adoption happens because of a life crisis. Loss results from that crisis and the birth parents, adoptive parents, and children who are adopted are all, in some way, affected.  Adoption is complex, deeply emotional and personal. Adoption is stigmatized and inaccuracies are complex.

Often, what people read about and hear of is from the adoptive parent’s perspective, like mine. They hear a lot about the joy of being a parent and raising kids. But there are other aspects to adoption, other people who must be heard and honored. Please listen with your heart about what Andrea shares below.

In our private correspondence you and I have discussed the assumptions some people have about our “roles” within this adoption “journey” and how those assumptions are inaccurate and can sting. What do you want to share here?

There was a girl that interned for me a while back and she didn’t know about little man.  I don’t always tell others about him because it’s not always their business.  She had been watching the MTV show Teen Mom and was commenting on how the couple on the show was basically ruining that child’s life by continuing to be part of her life after her adoption.

I guess I don’t get why everyone assumes that all birth mothers are either teenagers or drug addicts.  That we are all liars and that we are dangers to the children we loved enough to carry for ten months (40 weeks=10 months, not the nine everyone always uses).  I am not Quinn from Glee, I am not going to try and steal little man back.  I am not a total screw up in my life; I am just not ready to be a single parent.

I also wish the media would profile an open adoption like mine because there is a lot to educate people on. Realistically though I doubt that will ever happen so I guess I would like to tell the world to think before you speak because you wouldn’t want to be stereotyped so please give me the same courtesy.

Your profound love and concern for your son comes through “loud and clear.” What’s the most offensive remark about birth mother/adoption that has been shared with you and how did you respond?

The most hurtful hands down was when a relative of mine found out, he messaged me on Facebook and just tore into me.  This was maybe two weeks after I placed little man and I was in a really bad place already.  I will quote it but it’s pretty hurtful:

 “You are such a low class piece of s***. You give a kid up for adoption before even talking to any of your family. What the hell is wrong with you? I bet Derek doesn’t even know. Your mom didn’t even know if that is really in fact the truth, or if it is just some made up story to draw attention to yourself. Either way it is sad. Grow up. Stop being such a lying secret keeping piece of crap. It gets real old.”

So I just responded with, if I were all those things that you say then it would make even more sense for my kid to be around me.  Funny how you wouldn’t have judged me if I had an abortion but you feel like you should have a right to tell me what to do now.  I wish I could say that I let it go but it still cuts me to the core.

Your posts are considerably shorter now than they were several months ago. How are you doing? What kind of support do you have?

I feel a lot less alone than I did when I first started writing.  One, because I am in a better living situation, and two, because I am trying to get out into the world more and be more social. I now have people to talk to so I don’t spend as much time writing as I did. I am mostly okay; I still have my bad days and I know in those days I am tough to be around.

I cry a lot still and I lash out at Derek often.  I am hoping with time it will become less raw and that I will learn to live with this hole in my heart.  I actually have a really good support system in my cousin and his family.  Brian has never once judged me for my adoption. I feel so happy that he is in my life and that I have him. His wife is also really sweet and supportive. I don’t think I could have made it through all of this without them.

What advice would you give to women considering adoption for their child?

I would tell them that adoption isn’t a simple solution to a complex problem.  It is going to hurt no matter what.  Please make sure that this is what you think is best, not what others around you are pushing you to do.

Part of what I struggle with is I feel like Derek pushed this on me.  I agreed to it, but I never wanted it. I wanted to be a mother so badly, but I knew there was no way I could do this alone.

Also I would recommend that even though you feel like contact would be too painful to not close that door.  You may never want to have contact but once that door is closed it is very hard to open back up.  Even though you feel like it will make things easier to not have contact you may change your mind later.

If you could be a super hero, who would you be and why?

I would want to be the little known hero, Captain Planet.  He uses the forces of nature to stop people from polluting. He also used clever puns when addressing villains.  I think it is the closet hippy in me that wants the earth to remain beautiful and pollution free so that little man has a nice world to grown up and raise his family in.  Although I think I may have to fight Al Gore to become Captain Planet.

So, for my blog visitors: Your thoughts?

~ Image by Savagolome

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Filed under Adoption Issues, Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Advocacy, Events, Grief, Loss, Multicultural Families, The International Mom