Thursday, June 14, 2007

Meant to Be

I've never said my son was 'meant to be' part of our family. I have a hard time even considering it in my most private thoughts. Saying that he was meant to be with us sounds an awful lot like saying he was meant to lose his parents, his roots, his culture, his language, his Korean citizenship. No matter how I could try to slice it (rationalize), I just don't, can't, and won't believe it.

The meant-to-be conversation about adoption occupies a lot of my quiet thoughts, nonetheless, because acknowledging that my son wasn't meant to lose everything and wasn't necessarily meant to be my son, means that, since he has indeed been relinquished and adopted, he is currently (and is henceforth going to be) living a life he wasn't meant to live.

Doesn't it?

What does that mean for him? For my relationship with him (and by that I mean what are my responsibilities specific to this concept)? These are the questions I struggle with. I care relatively little about whether or not APs say 'gotcha day' or whether or not they circumcize their children, or whether or not they feed their babies peanuts at age 1 or age 3. When it comes to adoptive parenting, I'd much rather learn about these concepts that are bound to be all-consuming - - for my son, 'who am I?' and for me as his adoptive mother, 'how can I best support you?'

As a child, my thoughts would sometimes wander in daydreams such as what would it be like if they told me I was adopted? Maybe my real parents are gorgeous/handsome rich folks who spend their days traveling the world (going to every exciting destination, of course) with their children. Maybe I'm meant to be living in a mansion. Maybe I would have 20 Cabbage Patch Kids and plenty of Jordache jeans and charm necklaces, like my friend Nikki. Maybe I would live near the ocean instead of in the boring old midwest. My little fantasies were interesting to ponder, but in the end I had the security of knowing that I was pretty much right where I belonged ~ or at least that there was no real possibility that I ever had a chance of being anywhere else. It was pretty obvious that I was meant to be in the family I was being raised in. And that reality was comforting.

I feel like there is just no way that I can provide that security of knowing you are where you belong, for my son. When he so much as looks in the mirror, his own reflection will tell him that he is not where nature apparently intended him to be. I struggle with it. While many of my fellow adoptive parents are somehow able to claim they forget which of their children is adopted, I still, after almost two and a half years, hold my son in my arms and when I look into his eyes I am only filled with questions. Who are you? Who are you/were you meant to be? What can I do to show my love, my support, my commitment, even though it's possible that we are not meant to call each other 'son' and 'mama'? How can I help you feel that sense of security that *I* had as a child, that sense of belonging where one is - when, in my mind, you are a sweet baby boy who is meant to be growing up in Korea with your Omma?

And what shall I tell him in the future? "You were meant to be a part of our family" isn't working for me right now as any kind of concession for everything that has been taken from him.