Friday, June 19, 2009


1 : the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change resilience
(As copied from the Dictionary)

Interesting word...resilience. Some other synonyms for the word are toughness, flexibility and hardiness.

Last night as I sat up thinking about our little Wei-Che and worrying about how hard it would be for him when we go to bring him home. To be loved and well taken care of for so many months by a Foster Family and then to be uprooted and handed over to virtual strangers at such a developmentally critical bonding stage/age. Not to mention the changes that have happened prior in his little life...

It made me so sad for him. And it made me think also of how Simone came to us, the loss and changes in her life at such a young age. I wondered aloud if it is even fair, what we are doing in adopting our babies like this. My hubby said something like "they are resilient, they adapt easily". they?

So I of course thought about that. I thought about what an amazing and sad journey our little ones have taken already- so early in their lives. And I wonder if it does in fact create a hardiness, a resoluteness in them. I know our Simone is in every way like all the other little girls we know, she's no tougher or more strained in character than her friends. With the minor exception that she looks slightly different than her Mom & Dad, our family is just like all of our friends who have bio kids, and our friends with adopted kids too. Of course there will always be things adoption related that we will deal with. But the need to be resilient...does that just expire? With all of the love, affection and attention they get once they come home do they need to be dependant on their resilience any more? I gaze at my sweet Wei-Che's picture and can't imagine how we can even expect that innocent little baby to have to be resilient?

My friend just had a baby, and there were some minor complications (he is absolutely fine now though!). But they've had to poke and prod the poor little guy to get blood, give blood and test blood. He has scabs on his little 16 days old! Does that mean he's had to be resilient - to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change- and if so does he just forget that part of his life and stop using that resilience he developed? And is it the same with our sweet babies after they come home?

Adoption has been around for a long time, it is even written about in the Bible. In I fact chose my own Hebrew name, Hadassah, in part because of the biblical story of her strength and bravery in the face of danger while saving the people of her birth culture. But I was also drawn to her because she was adopted by the King as and raised if she were born to him, even being made Queen. (and no, I didn't choose it b/c I wanted to be called a Queen...well not entirely) You may know her by her Biblical name of Esther. (Yes, Ma*onna - Esther is not a really Hebrew name...) She was resilient, surely she had to be. But was it because of the challenges she faced or simply because that is part of her character? I like to think a bit of both...

And I want my darling children to be able to be tough, to stand up for their beliefs and be resilient - flexible. But I want them to have good lives, happy lives that are free of worry that things could change again for them. I want them to lose the need for resilience yet maintain the character that it has created in them.
Am I asking too much... is this even possible?

I suppose we don't have a choice in that, but we do have a choice in how much love we give them, how much stability and reliability we offer them and in how much we help them gain confidence in themselves. To help them move past the need for resilience to just having an ability to adapt.
I think I could really use a manual for this parenting thing!


Lisa said...

Gosh, that sure got me thinking and though there may be several answers to your questions, I think no one answer reflects every child or responds to every situation, all of the time. I also think that if anyone was going to attempt to write a manual, maybe you should be the one!

This was a beautiful and insightful post, made all the moreso because of your constant ability to look beyond your own needs and place your babies needs above all else. Beautiful because you are asking the hard questions.....beautiful because you challenge us to ask and reflect on the tough issues....beautiful because it speaks so fully of the tremendous love you have for your children and the strong faith that simply must accompany this journey: both the adoption journey and simply the journey of parenthood.

Wei-Che will be welcomed as a blessing and accepted for all that he is......that alone is a gift beyond measure and speaks volumes of your resiliency Mama! :)

Big hugs and wishes for a grand weekend!! I'm gonna look at that little guy now!!

Robin said...

Your post on this subject is thought provoking. When I think of Lauren and how difficult the next transition will be I too hope that the challenge and relisiance will not permmantly change who she is deep down. I think that those of use who chose to build our families through adoption are especially tenderhearted. That compassion and love are what help our children let go of thier defense mechanism and be free to grow and love. At least that is what I hope. Big things to consider. Great post. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt words so generously.

Tonya Riegelsberger said...

Wow jennifer! This blog really resonates with me. First, you are an amazing writer. Second, you are an amazing mommy. You and I have had a number of conversations about being adopted children and I believe you're self reflection as an adopted child has been incredibly beneficial as a mother of an adopted child, soon to be two. I'm so touched by this blog and wanted to say thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are amazing. We miss you terribly!