Sunday, November 05, 2006

Enough group hugs, already

A couple of years ago (prior to knowing anything about the sweet baby who would become my son), I posted my dismay - even anger, perhaps - on an agency discussion forum regarding the rule that Korean women who had relinquished their children for international adoption (or the biological families of those children) could make a request to parent ("change their minds") up to the point that the children had left Korea. At that time, I couldn't fathom that we, theoretically, could stretch our budget to its limit to be able to travel to Korea and might leave without "our" baby.

In retrospect, I'm surprised at one or two of the responses to that discussion forum 'vent' of mine: a couple of adoptive moms actually spoke up and basically said, yeah, that's the rule, and so what? Shouldn't a mom be able to decide to parent her child before the adoption is final if it is in any way possible? After my public humiliation wore off, I had to admit how correct they were. By the time we were actually in Korea to meet our son, I was secretly hoping with everything I had, that he would be one of the lucky ones whose family would have found the encouragement or the resources to 'change their minds'. I was mentally prepared to leave without him, knowing that it would truly be what was best for him - being able to stay with his parents or extended family as opposed to the life that I would offer.

The fact that I posted my self-absorbed concerns publicly (and the fact that I had those thoughts at all) is one of those experiences that can only be told while hanging one's head in shame. I wonder will I ever be able to overcome the regret I feel for going into the adoption process so blindly - so unaware of its effects on others. But I wanted to expose my thoughts here simply to highlight the response of the one or two adoptive moms who took enough offense to my self-absorption to tell me the truth - and that's something that is really lacking when we adoptive parents speak to each other about what we've learned about adoption. We're more likely to give pats on the back and ((((hugsssss!)))) to each other or to blindly share each other's frustration whenever something doesn't seem to be going our way. We commonly and conveniently forget that we aren't owed anything, including anyone else's child, we let fears and form our opinions and use sentimentalism to justify our actions, and we can be quick with attempts to discredit those who have first-hand experiences and concerns to share about international adoption.

I'm thankful for the people (adoptees and first parents, primarily, but also a few adoptive parents) who have been strong enough not to mince words when talking about adoption. Hugs are nice, but they don't help us learn or grow and they don't change reality for those who are experiencing the effects of adoption.


At 6:29 PM , Blogger Kahlan said...

Yes! Fantastic post, Zoe! I was one who was completely against any kind of openness in the beginnings of our adoption journey. After reading and talking to first moms, adoptees, and some enlightened APs, I realize how important open adoption is. We have all had ideas that were just plain wrong. What is awesome is that you (and I, if I could be so bold) have learned and grown. We no longer hold onto those silly ideas and are trying our best to educate ourselves and others when possible. I will admit that I am terrible with words and I often shy away from conflict on agency forums. When something seems just plain wrong to me though, I do try and speak up.

At 12:04 PM , Blogger cloudscome said...

(((HUGS))) can't help myself, LOL

At 5:25 PM , Blogger Kahlan said...

Oh my gosh! TOO TOO funny, cloudscome!

At 3:15 AM , Blogger said...

Your voice is important for adoption reform.


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