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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Linkage

As always, I don't necessarily agree or disagree with these links, but I believe they are important to consider. For those of you new around here, I'm an adoptive momma. Each Sunday I try to post links relevant to the China- adoptive community. I read some of these linked posts while nodding my head in agreement... others stretch my mind as I seek to understand. Always, always, I consider them.

Who Am I? Denying and Discovering Racial Identity -- ARP guest contributor Karin Lin at the blog Anti-Racist Parent... the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants explains her journey to discover her cultural and racial identity

La La La, I Can't Hear You!!! -- adoptee rights advocate Triona Guidry at 73adoptee... I hesitated to include this link because the post links directly to another person's blog. However, I think this post is very important to read, so I ask that you not click on the link to see "who is the a-parent." The identity of that person is not important, but what is important are Triona's thoughts.

Family Member Follow-Up -- blogger and adoptive momma (domestic, open) Heather at Production, Not Reproduction... more helpful hints for those who know someone within the adoption community

Sick -- reunited adoptee and blogger Lillie at It Came From the Cabbage Patch... a concise and eye-opening explanation of an adoptee's longing for her birthparents... WARNING: this post contains one instance of pseudo-profanity

Meet Our Cleft Team, Hello from Beijing and Surgeries Start Monday -- Wendy Petersen, Medical Trips Coordinator at Love Without Boundaries... the 2008 Cleft Team left for China late last week to perform cleft palate surgeries on 25 children from seven provinces at the Anhui Children's Hospital

Blogging Deep Into the Night -- adoptive momma and blogger Ronda at 6 Pages In Our Book... a touching thank you letter to all adoptive momma bloggers, who greatly impact her daughter (hat tip to Michelle at Day By Day)

Sleep, Glorious Sleep -- adoption researcher, author and adoptive momma Dawn Davenport at Finding Your Child & Creating a Family... discusses the sleep issues many adoptive children face, including links to research conducted by Dr. Tony Tan about said topic within the China-adoption community


Janet said...

I read the one about "La la la". Sigh. This makes me so sad. Why? Because I would love for my children to be able to know their birth parents, to fill in that gap for THEM. It's just not doable. But believe me, if I could find them, I would LOVE for them to know that their child is all right, and I would love for my child to know them. Why are we threatened? Our children are still ours, it has nothing to do with blood. I could go on all day. It's a wound that will never heal for our kids. Maybe it would help to put ourselves in their shoes?

Rebecca said...

I loved Ronda's post!!! Wow.

Anonymous said...

I read the post on Lalala, too...and have continued thinking... I think that that the adoption experience is uniquely different for every child. There is no one set of right answers. Children react to/handle the loss inherent to adoption so individually. My oldest was happy enough to hear about her foster mother but did not want to discuss anything at all related to birth family...to her, the very existence of a "birth mother" was somehow threatening to her. Whereas my youngest child went through a stage when she was about two or three years old where she obsessed about her birth mother and worried over her and brought her into many conversations. Both of these daughters joined our family as infants. My son, who came to us at six years, spent the first three years totally disassociating himself from all things connected with his past...would become angry with me if I called him by his Chinese name and would tell me that he "wasn't Chinese!" Now...four years later...he is in a safe enough place emotionally, that for the first time he is beginning to talk about his life in Taiwan and he is no longer reacting vehemently to deny his heritage.

I think the important thing as adoptive parents is that from day one we lay our own needs and feelings and baggage about being the "adoptive" parent aside. It is all about our child. It is all about his or her needs...and how best to guide them through this experience...and it is important to realize that this IS huge in their little hearts (whether it is worn near the surface, like with my youngest, or buried deep where no one is allowed to see or share, like with my oldest child), it is real, and it needs to be acknowledge by us in an open-handed fashion that always leaves the door open for our child to DIRECT how and when and how much it will be discussed. When my oldest child was 12 years old, she finally asked why some babies are abandoned...we talked about it one time...when the door was opened by her...and, for her, that seemed to be enough. I had referenced the presence of birth parents when she was two and three, but she did not want to acknowledge that fact then...though she was always eager to hear what I knew about her foster mother in China.

Kids are just so different. Our job as parents is to know our child and empathetically/intuitively travel this journey with them. For an adoptive parent to ever be threatened by the reality of a set of birth parents is self-centered...it may be NATURAL, but that doesn't make it something that we--for the sake of our child--can ever afford to indulge ourselves in.

I know who my son's birth parents are. He was adopted from Taiwan. I guess I have never been threatened by their existance...but, the baggage I have had to work through is a genuine anger at them for the hurt they inflicted upon my son before he became my son...the legacy of the head injury that he will carry with him the rest of his life. But that was MY PROBLEM that I needed to sort out in my own heart without involving my son, in any way, in it. In the end, I had to come to the realization that they were not prepared to be parents. They did not have the knowledge/skills/life experiences that they needed to be good parents. Yes, they were responsible for the head injury he sustained...but that doesn't mean that they didn't/don't love him. Honestly, when he was six years old, they did what was in their power to give him the chance for a new life with a family of his own. If they had refused to relinquish their parental rights, he would have gone to the state run orphanage (which does not adopt out...he would have lived in the institution the rest of his childhood). Both of his parents (who had long since divorced each other) had to take off from work and travel to another city to appear in court and sign away their parental rights. They traveled together by motorcycle. They came together that one day to do what they could for the sake of their son. They made mistakes when he was a baby...but, I know they cared about him because they did what they could for him when he had a chance to be adopted. THAT is the attitude and knowledge about his birth parents that is the legacy I want to pass on to him...not what they did wrong, but, what they did RIGHT for him out of their LOVE for him. Our children's birth parents (even the anonymous ones that we will never know, as in our Chinses daughters) are PART of our children...to disrespect or pass on an attitude of critical disapproval is to disparage a part of our child.

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

Wow, great links and great comments. Thank you all SO much! I am learning! :)

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

One more thing... I am not adopted, but because of some things in my childhood and family makeup I struggled with my identity.

As I read about adoptees and their journeys through identity (and as I prepare for my own adopted daughter's journey), I have thought that what I as a Christian mom can do. And that is to help ALL of my children build a bedrock on what their identity is in God. They are loved. They are desired. They are set apart. They are made special, in His image. They have unique gifts and talents. And God wants to USE them. THey have purpose.

I have found from my own struggles (which I do not in any way equate to that of an adoptee) that living for something beyond yourself is incredibly freeing. When you see yourself as part of a bigger picture with a greater purpose...well it changes everything. This is what I want for my children, adopted and biological.