There has been a lot of talk over the internet blogs that I traditionally visit about adoption recently. Some mention that an adoptee should stay with people of their own race and/or culture. Others mention that adoption should stay within an extended family. Some even say that adoptees suffer a great loss and as a result need to mourn that loss.
Ok, one at a time.
Mourning the loss is real. I get that.
As an adoptee, I encountered this while growing up. It did not consume me, and I grew up to be a well-adjusted person. I’m as dysfunctional as anyone else. What did my REAL parents do that got me through the difficult times? Did they coddle me or treat me as a fragile being? Hell, no. When I said, “You’re not my real mom!”, Mom would fire back, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”. It always, ALWAYS made me stop and think. I am their child. Period. They are my parents. Period. When I went through those difficult teenage years, they stood beside me. Propped me up when I was unable to stand. Allowed me to lean on them when I was unsure. Stood by me and cheered through good times and bad.
Was I a sad person? Did I act out because I am an adoptee? Did I grieve? Yes, to the latter one. No, to the first two. I was not a sad person. I learned what love is through the love I received as a CHILD, not as an adoptee. I had moments where I wished I knew more information than what I had, and in a child’s immature emotional state, was very confused and frustrated. Acting out is a normal part of growing up, no matter what the circumstances of your birth and childhood. Did I grieve? Every person, no matter if they are adopted or not, grieves. Actually, I see adoptees as more equipped to handle grieving. Sadness is something to be dealt with, accepted, and “moved through”. Grieving is not something that should be swept under a rug to be dealt with later. Its not something to walk around or ignored. It only becomes deeper, and harder to deal with it later on. (This is a generalization, so forgive me, as I know that this does not apply to every person.)
Wanting something that is an unknown is often referred to as a dream or fantasy.
As every adoptee has encountered, I was often asked the question, “Do you ever want to find your ‘real’ parents?” The answer was always, “I live with my parents.” The inevitable back and forth ensued, and the questioner eventually got the answer of, “If they want to be found, sure, I’d love to have contact with my biological family.” That has never happened. I began a search once I graduated college, which resulted in both “biologicals” being located, but neither wanting contact. I can completely respect that. Did I become angry? For about a day. Then I realized that through the search process my parents stood by me.
It brought my “mourning” full circle. Every now and again before I got “an answer”, I always wondered, fantasied, dreamt, what the reunion would be like. The answer I got? Look at what you have, that is the fantasy. No matter how difficult things get or what you encounter, you are living a great life. You have family that love you. Period.
I was accepted into the family whole-heartedly. My parents are my parents. My sister is my sister. My cousins are my cousins. My aunts, uncles and grandparents NEVER EVER treated me any differently than any of the others. Thats what family is. We are a family and we are united.
Why should any adoptee stay with extended family or even with people of their own race? Well, personally, I DO NOT believe this. This is only a good situation for a very specific “audience”. I would want what is best for the child. If staying with relatives, and being raised by them is what is best, then, by all means, do it. But if it is in the best interest of the child to move onto a different family, a new environment, than that is something that needs to be considered.
My children will know that they were adopted. That we were led to find them, no matter what it took. If they someday wish to find their biological parents, I will support them. Hell, I’ll probably book the plane tickets for them.
There is not such thing as a first “best”, second “best”, third “best” of person. In my opinion, there is only a “best” that is different from yours.
My birth mother made a choice when I was born. My adoptive parents made a choice. We all make choices in how we build our families. What decisions or choices were made were best for everyone involved.
That brings me to my choice. Do I believe what was done was in my best interest. Yes. It was done with love. I was not aborted. I was given the choice of life. What I choose to do with it is MY choice, but all the choices leading up to it, well, they were done for me.