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.
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.
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.