ChinaMom

Mon, November 27, 2006

Adoption


We’ve talked a lot with PunditGirl about her biological parents in age-appropriate terms ever since she was just a toddler.

We’ve read books to her that talk about the subject and have always answered her questions honestly. But the honest answers aren’t really helping her right now. At almost 7, we are discovering that her grief about not having her bio family is with her virtually every day and comes up at the least expected times.

It’s not that surprising to me that she thinks about her “China Mom and China Dad,” since we have spent a lot of time with her and a professional sorting out her anger that really sprang forth from her little body when she was about 3, anger so big that it was keeping her from really believing that D. and I are her parents and would not leave her.

Yesterday, the weather was unexpectedly glorious and warm, so we brought out the tricycle (she doesn’t want to make the switch to the two-wheeler just yet). She’s just discovering that her 6 3/4-year-old legs are truly strong and can make that Red Flyer go up a hill almost as fast as she can coast downhill. Even watching from behind her as she takes off, I can sense the newfound glee that she can pedal as fast as her body will allow and still be in control.

Afterwards, red-cheeked and smiling, her grin fell from her face and she burst into tears.

I knelt down, hugged her and, of course, asked, “What’s wrong, sweetie?”

In what is becoming a more common response, Rachel replied through her tears, “I miss China Mom and China Dad.”

When I asked her a few weeks ago, as we were discussing the upcoming December holiday-fest (we celebrate Christmas and Chanukah, and her birthday is in December, as well!), what she wanted for her birthday, she said, matter-of-factly, “You, Dad, China Mom and China Dad and me, all together.”

I tried not to let her see my tears.

Unfortunately, due to the reality of adoption from China, we don’t know who her biological parents are and we probably never will. Many adoptees, domestic and international, are able to find out who their biological families are and decide whether they want to make a connection with them or not. But Rachel will most likely never have that choice.

I worry that, even though her dad and I try to explain that we’ll do what we can to help her discover that information, as unlikely as that is, that she will become an angry teen and adult.

Recently, I have come across a variety of blogs by adoptees who are really angry — angry at their adoptive families for adopting them, despite the realities that they may have grown up in an orphanage or in foster care, and angry at the decisions made for them by the families who raised them. Some of those blogs have expressed outrage over the Madonna adoption, some comments bordering on saying that families — especially families of a race different from the child — should not be permitted to adopt.

I understand there is no way for me to comprehend the grief or anger over one’s original life, culture and family being taken and changed. I know the grief will always be there for Rachel, on some level, and that her dad and I can only help her learn how to deal with the grief.

But I don’t understand the anger that seems to be directed toward some of the writers’ adoptive families — the ones who loved them, raised them the best that they could, wiped the tears, kissed the boo-boos and cuddled with bedtime stories.

I know we’ll never be able to replace in PunditGirl’s heart or her life the parents who gave birth to her, but I hope we will be able to raise her to know that we believe she was the child we were meant to have, and that she can love us and grieve at the same time.

I hope I have the strength to manage that.

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10 Responses to “ChinaMom”

  1. CrankMama Says:

    You love your daughter deeply and you are a strong and courageous woman to not turn away from these difficult issues. I admire you very much.

    -Rachael

  2. Kelley Says:

    This was a really moving, thought-provoking post; thanks for sharing it with us.

    I admire you, too.

  3. something blue Says:

    Your words have left me deeply thinking about this. It is a strange, strong connection that we hold with blood relatives. I hope your daughter finds inner peace and learns to recognize that she has all the love in the world right in front of her.

  4. Mombat Says:

    You do have the strength, as shows in your post. I wonder, though, how much of her anger is truly adoption-related, as opposed to just being a typical 6-year old emotion. I am adopted (although into a same-race family), and I remember mostly being confused about adoption and feeling different from my peers. (I also look nothing like my red-headed family — they called me the “blonde sheep”.)

    Now that I have met my biological relatives, I can assure you that I no longer believe in any blood connection or bond. They are nice people, but I felt the same about them as I would any strangers off of the street. As my parents reinforced with me, my “real parents” are the ones who actually parented me. One day she will appreciate that — and I hope it is all the sweeter for you.

  5. jen Says:

    oh, wow.

    what an amazing story. what an amazing mom you are. i have no idea how i’d deal with those questions, and yet you are doing so w/ such grace.

    hat’s off, sister.

  6. Mom101 Says:

    This is so honest and heartfelt and touching – it’s a side I think a lot of us really don’t hear about.

    Reading posts and comments like that really must pain you. I’m no expert on adoption (or on much, for that matter) but my sense is that people–grown children–have issues with their parents, their upbringing, their lot in life for all sorts of reasons. If it’s not adoption it’s something else. All you can do is raise her and love her help her find peace with these issues the best you can.

    I’m going to be thinking about this post for a long time.

  7. Mrs. Chicky Says:

    This post was so touching that I wish I had just the right words to make all the pain go away. But I don’t. It does, however, sound like you’re doing everything you can to help your daughter through this and I find that very admirable. Be strong.

  8. vasilisa Says:

    This is such an honest post… Thanks for sharing…

    I don’t have any experience to share with you, but I think your love for your daughter is strong enough to overcome this. I agree with Mom-101 — kids (and teenagers) often go through anger stages. But hopefully your daughter will grow out of it…

  9. Lawyer Mama Says:

    I have to hope that some of those adults who are still holding on to that anger are truly angry about something else.

    You love Rachel and she’ll know that. You’re amazingly strong to be dealing with all of this head on. I know it must be painful for you as well.

  10. PunditMom Says:

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments and support.


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