Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Common Ground

This post is one of those things where I think adoptive and first mothers often share the same or similar thoughts, but may not know it.

I HATE it when I hear someone say a child is or was unwanted. It raises my shackles for about my daughter because, I KNOW she is loved and wanted with the deepest love by TWO women, at least and has many many more people in her life who would lay down their own for her sake. My daughter was not unwanted. For whatever reasons, she could not be protected in the family she was born to, and MANY people sacrificed to make sure she was safe. Love and Wanted were never in question.

And without trying to minimize anyone's pain over loss -there is still truth --- I WANT and WANTED her VERY MUCH. She is my Joy. She is a unique individual whose very existence blesses this world and this family.

But besides that, and not wanting to get to far into the whole abortion issue, because I know that is an area inside and outside of adoption communities that is likely to start flames (no flaming here please) - No CHILD is unwanted. They were born. The mother and even more so, God - the creator of the universe, the One who knits us together in our mother's wombs - WANTS us.

It is a huge pet peeve of mine. And I wanted to just share that. Comments were closed on the original poster, which makes me think she did not want to start something, I am unaware was likely to trigger. So please be kind if you comment here, to both of us. We are often coming to this journey from vastly different points of view, but we are both Mama Bears protecting cubs. That is our common ground.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


On the way back from K-Mart looking for a cooler,

from the back seat...

"Mom, do you think adopted is the best thing ever?"

me: Well, adoption..
BJ: No, adoptED
me: I think adoption has some happy things and some sad things.
BJ: What is the sad thing.
me: The sad thing is that you don't have L, and the happy thing is that you do have our family. And hopefully some day that you will have both. It is sad that L was so sick.
BJ: I never got to see her.
Me: We are going to send her a picture of you at Christmas and tell her we would really like to hear from her.
BJ: But that won't work!
Me: I don't know. I don't know if your first mother is still sick or not.
BJ: But you are my second mother, you are not my real mom.
Me: Well, I think we are both your real moms. We just have different parts of your life. I am your adoptive mom, or just mom.
BJ: Do I still have the drugs in me?
Me: No.
BJ: But I thought I had them in me.
Me: Yes, you did, but the doctors gave you medicine to get it out and then asked the social workers to take care of you until they could figure out what to do.
BJ: Did I have Pneumonia?
Me: Yes, but that was months later when you were a baby and had been in our family for awhile.
BJ: Did anyone else in our family have Pnuemonia?
Me: I did but I didn't know it for awhile. I was getting sick a lot while taking care of you, but I didn't know I had caught it for several months.
Me: But going back to your question, being adopted is just one piece of who you are, an important part - but it is not ALL of you.
BJ: Not just a piece! It is all of me!
Me: Aren't you also a girl who likes to ride her bike, who is smart, and funny, a (our last name)girl (we used to say - last name girls are smart!strong!fun!).
BJ - yes. I like to rollerskate too.
Me: I think of it like your name. Your name (B) is you, and dad and I gave you that name and your middle name (J) is you and L gave you that name. You are both.


I spent about 5 hours late last night trolling My Space for L, or anyone from her highschool or her town. Every person named L, I searched for clues - in their life, and looking into their faces, for traces of my daughter.

as an aside.. I don't really understand MySpace.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

a different conversation

One morning this week, when I was late getting into work and BJ was already at day camp, dh said I want to talk to you about something. He was very serious.

It turns out one of the young women who work at the summer camp approached him as he picked BJ up earlier that week. She said, without preface, "Is BJ adopted". DH was taken off guard and uncomfortable. He stuttered a bit and said "yes." The woman responded with something along the lines of "wow, she looks so much like you". DH did not ask what brought it up or why she asked."

DH is not terribly comfortable talking about adoption. He knows BJ and I do, and only recently BJ has become more comfortable talking about it in front of DH. He says - I just don't think of her as an "adopted daughter", she is just daughter, and the rest is no one else's business.

So, DH was worried about why BJ would have announced it at camp, and even more so that she would be teased by other kids. He wanted to ask BJ about it but didn't want to say something to make her feel bad.

So, I took a breath and as non-confrontationally as I could, I said. Well, the last thing we want to do is make BJ feel like that she did something wrong or that there is anything shameful about being adopted. He said, No.. no.. of course not. But what was said?

I responded that BJ had told me that two of the women are pregnant. I would guess that something was said about a baby in the tummy and BJ said something about being in her first mother's tummy or not being in mine. DH nodded at that.

I said, or she is testing the waters with the kids to see what reaction she gets.

He was still not comfortable going back to the teasing possibility. I reiterated that it is her story to tell or not, and she has to test somewhere. He can talk with her about it, but to be casual and just ask - don't question her. He said he would feel more comfortable if all three of us talked about it. I said that if we all sat down to a family meeting to talk about the fact that she mentioned adoption at camp, it doesn't matter what we say, the subtext is that it is a big deal and not OK.

I summed up by just saying... you are uncomfortable. And he said yes. And the fact I said it without sounding judgemental seemed to help. Just owning up to the fact that he doesn't want to discuss the adoption with acquaintances.

I mentioned that BJ brings up the "I never got to see her" a lot and that we need to do what we can before the teen years to contact L. He said, Oh I don't mind about talking with L about it, or family - but others I don't like - and when she is a teen, she can handle other kids (I think he has forgotten what it was like to be a teen).

We ended with me agreeing to gently see if I could find out how it came up at camp. I asked a few generic questions like, so what kinds of things do you talk about at camp and I got quite a teen sounding response out of my seven year old: "why, why do you want to know," and I let it go, because really if that question triggered a sense of privacy, there is no way I can get to something that was said a week ago in a context I have no way to enter into the conversation.

Plus, again - its hers to tell or not, and while I hope she chooses trustworthy people to share anything personal in her heart, it is my job to be there to pick up the pieces if someone is cruel and she has to learn by experience that people say stupid things. She has to learn who to trust sometime, and she has gotten teased on regular kid no real reason stuff enough to know that teasing happens.

So... DH's feelings about it aren't something I am really comfortable with myself. But telling him his feelings are wrong wouldn't move him along the spectrum. He is much more conservative about adoption than he was when we were going through the process with the county. But I wonder if it isn't sort of OK for dad's. I mean, I love my daughter and my embracing of her full history and connections to L doesn't mean I see her as any less my daughter. But in that daddy=daughter adoration, wouldn't it feel comforting that none of it all mattered to him or was on his radar. That you just are who you are, and in his mind, that is his beloved daughter? It just seems like its different with moms/daughters. If you turn a blind eye or even just overlook something important, it IS denying or hiding it. The subtext between moms and daughters is so huge. If daddy does it, its just because he is dad.

Or am I justifying for him?