Sunday, May 29, 2011

Skadoosh!

There is an adoption blog I look forward to reading every week.  Her perspective and guests' posts help me broaden my own ideas and, truly, will help me be a better parent to the boys from what I've learned by reading.

This is not to say that I agree with everything I read there.  (If so, that would be sad.  And I think the blogger herself would be disappointed.) :)

This weekend, she asked readers to comment about the new movie, "Kung Fu Panda 2" and how the movie handled the adoption issue.  You can read the post and all the comments there first so my post will make more sense.   There will be major movie spoilers if you read through it all. FYI.
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Well.  Can you tell that this is a hot topic in the adoption community?  It should be!  In the past (and sadly, still) parents made the mistake of hiding adoption.  When they did share, they made their child feel obligated to be grateful that they were "rescued".  They downplayed racism or ignored differences of color and ethnicity.  I've read about adoptive parents who are so uncomfortable discussing birth families and actually feel offended when their child longs to know more about them or expresses emotion toward their birth family.

When I posted my opinion, I knew I was going against the grain a bit, but I was telling the truth from my own perspective and experience.  I DO know (and know of) adoptees who are grounded in who they are without having or seeking information about their birth family.  I was genuinely curious about others' feelings about that.  I also know (more) adoptees who did need/want to search and have all the questions answered.  I didn't mention that because, especially on that blog, I figured that was understood.  (My bad.)

What the commenters who (I felt) attacked me don't know is...well, it's WHO they don't know.  They don't know me.  They don't know that I've been reading and reading and reading adoptee's perspectives.  They don't know how much I value every word they say.  Especially the tough stuff.  They don't know that I've watched all the clips from "Adoption: The Movie" about 5 times each and will order the documentary it to have on hand.  They don't know I've poured over books such as "American Born Chinese" and others that help me gain perspective on some of the discrimination the boys will face.  They don't know that I'm on an email loop that is in the middle of discussing how to use local law enforcement in one of the boys' provinces to help begin a birth parent search.  They don't know I'm gathering all the information I possibly can to ask when we're in China to find any answers that might be out there so I can have something...anything to give the boys in the way of knowing about their first families.  They don't know that we are already connected to other adoptees, from children to adults, who we plan to weave into our lives so they can be our boys' friends, supporters and mentors who know what it's like.

I have SO MUCH to learn.  I'm like a first-time mom all over again.  10 years from now, I'm sure I'll look back at some comments I've made over the past year and laugh at myself.  But I don't believe I'm going in blind.  I  know I'm not insecure about the boys loving/having affection for their birth moms.

The lesson I learned?  That I'm still learning.  That I'm not yet "in tune" to 100% of the hurtful phrases used around adoption community.  And I've learned that I, like Po, have inner-peace (although my peace comes through Christ in me...not my self) with where I am right now and who I am as a soon-to-be-adoptive mother, and that I will continue to learn and grow.

Postscript:
The passion with which people express their opinions about adoption and adoptive parents (not just on China Adoption Talk, but everywhere I've read) reminds me much of the "hot topics" in the Deaf community: Implant or not?  ASL or SEE?  Sign or oral?  Deaf school or mainstream?  Just google these topics and you'll see fury and fire on both sides.  I watch a documentary like "Sound and Fury" and end up with a huge headache because of how HEAVY it is and how much is expressed in so few words.  In the blog comments, several were totally offended by Po saying, "I am your son" instead of "I'm Po. And you're my father."  I don't understand the big problem with that yet, but I guess it's like how we cringe when we see "hearing impaired."  Yuck!  Interesting parallells.

6 comments:

  1. Blessings to you in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ.
    As believers, we are all adopted. We still have biological parents. Some choose to knit closer to them after their adoption into Christ's family, some do not. Some that have not had this true adoption, say things in defense and spite about this adoption. Some that know the true beauty of this adoption are more than willing to show the new life in a positive way.
    I want to encourage you to take your lead from God's Word. Read all you can, take in all you can, but remember to filter it through
    God's Word.

    I look forward to following your journey. I have a heart for adoption and the deaf community. I have been fascinated with signing since I was in 6th grade choir and we signed a few songs that we sang. I would really like to teach my children to sign enough to communicate with deaf or HOH (and I want to learn) but cannot find the means locally to do so. I am also an adoptee, only of special circumstances, I was adopted by my step father at age 13.
    I will be praying for you and your family! Your family's experiences will be like no one else. Thanks for your input!

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  2. Sorry you got such a rough intro to posting a comment at my blog! I get what you were saying, and don't really disagree -- we all want our children to feel however they feel about their adoptions. If they are content in their adoptive family and don't feel the need to search, and that's a genuine feeling rather than an attempt to be loyal to us, then that's great. I'm just sorry that the producers of the movie used that paradigm for Po, because there was such an opportunity to let people who are ignorant about adoption know that normal, likeable, Po-like adoptees have birth parents who are important to them.

    malinda of adoptiontalk
    (sorry, google won't let me sign in so that makes me anonymous!)

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  3. Malinda, I truly love your blog! The posts are always thoughtful, thought-provoking, and full of education for me and many other APs. Don't be sorry! I figure it's par for the course if I'm going to be silly enough to chime in on a sensitive topic I'm just learning about. :)
    Brandee, thanks for your kind words and the reminder about the filter. As a mom, and now adoptive mom, it's easy to second-guess myself.

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  4. Wow Sarah, I cannot believe how you were treated on that blog and I do believe you were completely misunderstood. I wanted to say exactly what Brandee said, God will provide the guidance you need.

    Like you, I want to learn as much as I can about how it can feel to be an adopted child but also, like you, I want to let my children feel however they want to feel about it. My goal as a parent is to point my children to the One who has the answers since He is the only one who can truly comfort and heal. After all, the reality is that these children are not ours nor are they their birthparent's, they are God's.

    Please don't second guess yourself. Sometimes I get so caught up in hearing 'experts' tell me what is right and what is wrong that it pulls me further and further from what God has already put on my heart.

    Every adoption is different, every adoptive parent is different, every adoptee is different, and every birthparent's situation is different. Let's not try to pigeon hole how our child will feel/react. I know an adoptee that thinks her birthparents were incredibly selfish for abandoning her and it took her a long time to forgive them. She gets upset that there is such a push to paint birthparents as somehow compassionate. She says it is the adoptive parent who is compassionate and loving. There is nothing wrong with that, it is how she feels. Same as your friend, and same for someone who desperately wants to know their birthparents. All we can do is give them every opportunity to explore their options and how they feel and explain it to them in light of God's word.

    Anyway, I think you are on the right track and I am glad you 'represented' for us on that blog! :o)

    Blessings,
    Jamie Ashton

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  5. We don't focus on our children having come to us non-biologically. People that constantly focus on their children having been adopted actually can make their children feel differently. Our kids came to us through adoption, and now, we just live life like every other family.

    I read what you wrote on the KFP2 comment, and I agreed wholeheartedly with you. I know adoptees who are secure and don't feel the need to find their origins. My oldest son is the victim of attempted murder by his BM and can you imagine how that reunion show would look on TLC? When you adopt, you are not raising somebody else's kids - you are raising your kids. We respect where our children came from and they know they can have open dialogue with us anytime they like without fear.

    Do you have facebook? I would love to have you as a friend. We have adopted twice and are in the process of bringing two more of our kids home. Annie

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  6. Annie, thank you thank you thank you!! I'm so glad you said that about your kids being YOUR kids, not someone else's kid. And, Jamie, you're right about our kids being God's, no matter how they came to be our children.
    I AM on facebook! www.facebook.com/sarahrbrown I love knowing and connecting with experienced families!

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