Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November is....

Yep folks...November is National Adoption Awareness Month.
Now I wasn't sure if I was up to such a post yet… lack of sleep and business of being a new mom to 2 has been a bit more, um...tiring than I had expected! But come on...me miss a chance at talking about adoption and all that it means to me...fat chance there!

Adoption has always been a part of my life, part of who I am. It has been a factor that has changed me and my course of life travels more than once. It has given me not one, but two wonderful families that I cherish and am very grateful for.

My thoughts on adoption have also changed and evolved over the course of my life so far, and I am sure will do so again. Adoption is not a one time deal, it's is a lifelong journey of love, commitment and an intertwining of lives. Lives that may not ever had crossed paths if not for that one huge step of adoption, that one simple and yet at the same time oh so complex yearning for family. At least that's my perspective of adoption, that's how it plays out in my world. But there is more to adoption than just one person or one couple's hopes and dreams. There is another person or people who must make an unimaginably hard choice, a choice that will be with them for the rest of their lives as well.

Growing up I always knew I was adopted. It was just who we were~ no more or less. I had- and still do I must add- the best parents a girl could have asked for. I was very loved (still am!) and was raised in a near idyllic family setting. Of course we had our normal problems just like every other family I knew, and that was because in my house we were just like every other family I knew, just that Cuffer & I were adopted. It wasn't until I hit my teenage years that I wondered who I really came from, what my "other" parents were like. Did they miss me at all? Worry and wonder about me too? Well I certainly hoped so, I hoped they worried a lot, wondered a lot as well. I felt more of a resentment for all that they gave up. I couldn't understand that it was a choice *I was a choice* that was incredibly hard, I'm sure, for them to make. But growing up I just didn't see it, yet.

And then when I started on this journey for my family, well I really just wanted a family. I laugh *oh yes laugh* at the comment I have heard..."how wonderful of you to do this".
No really, I hadn't thought at all about the child and the course of life they may or may not have had, my thoughts were not of the saving kind and never will be. No, I thought in purely selfish ways. I wanted, so desperately, to be a Mama- to have my own family, my own children. And in adoption I was able to fulfill that, it was that simple...at that time.

After Simone came home I realized that in IA there was a bit more to it than "just being adopted". For one, we don't look alike. For two, she had a birth country and culture that would have been hers if not for us adopting her. And finally, her chances of ever finding her birth family poses much more work than it does for me if she ever chose to pursue that. In my desire to have a child of my own, I had inadvertently removed a child from all that she could have had.

And now...well now I have my second precious baby home and yes, once again I've changed my vision of adoption. Of course the basics are still the same...adoption is a wonderful way to create a forever family. But what is involved, the people effected, the lives forever change...my thoughts of all that have changed. I can never replace the culture he would have had, but I will do my best to show both of my children a love for their countries of birth and a respect for their birth families. In my children I now see the importance of not only that culture but the role that the birth family has played in this joining of my family. Even though these are my very own children I've realized that I will always share a part of them with their first families. I must acknowledge the loss they may feel and the impact of their not knowing if these sweet babies are safe, loved, cared for in the capacity that they would have cared. I can only hope they know in their hearts the answer to that...

And then there is the question of "real". I was once rather baffled by the use of it in adoption. What does real have to do with your family, your parents and siblings? When I finally understood the real question behind it I formed my standard answer..."of course we're real...my parents changed my diapers, took care of me when I was sick, brought me to school my first day, took pictures of my prom, walked me down the aisle when I married my true love. My brother was really just as real, we loved each other, hated each other and loved each other again. He tortured me, defended me and was often my best friend." So does it get any more "real" than that? Well, in keeping with my theme of evolving thoughts of adoption, yes...there is more to “real” than the actions and milestones in life. There are all of those emotions that go with it. The love that only a mother can know, the heartbreak when your child is hurting, the absolute adoration you feel for these children of yours. The pride you feel at each accomplishment and the excitement of every new exploration. The ability to move a bus, mountain or nosy person in the grocery store to protect your babies… all this is so so very real.

And here I am, still amazed at how my newest tiny little bundle can have such a huge impact on my life, my emotions. How wonderful to have this gift, to be able to raise both of these fantastic babies as my own. Rocking him to sleep each night I'm often surprised to find myself crying- tears of joy at the feelings of love and happiness I have regarding him, and at the unbelievable bond we are forming. And this feeling is only compounded knowing that once I get my sweet dumpling gently off to sleep I will do so again with my big girl- those amazing feelings and the bond of love already established with her. I have these two wonderful children in my life forever and this is in itself such a true blessing for me and really a true gift bestowed on us by their first families. Each child is a miracle, a blessing and a reason to thank God- and through adoption I’ve been able to experience this with both my forever families.

Oh Rambling post, will you ever end?

Yes, I end here because it has taken me well over a week to write this and because one of those little blessings I have been speaking of is getting anxious on my lap and it is telling me it truly is time for this post to end.
This post had no specific purpose it’s just some of my thoughts on adoption, mainly for me to remember in years to come what adoption meant to me at this time in my life. And because, well we all know I just can’t say no to talking about it!


Michelle said...

I love this post. I had no idea you were adopted, and I love the full circle of your life. I too, cringe when people say, "bless you for adopting these children." Oh no...I did it for selfish reasons. And part of me will always feel guilty for taking my kids out of their rich birth cultures. Hugs...

Anonymous said...

Truly my favorite post to date... I am sure you will have an extra special Thanksgiving this year I hope you enjoy your holiday with your family of four :)

Take Care!
Missy aka Heather (hmmm someday I will figure out what to call myself)

Anonymous said...

Great post, and Sammy Wei is so adorable!
Best Wishes,
Christina in Germany
From Yahoo Board

Laura said...

I've truly enjoyed following your journey while Steve and I try to sort out whether our family is complete or if there is a second little Manville out there somewhere. And then, I read this post and you said it so much better than I ever could. I didn't know you were adopted (why would I?) and your description about that part of your history was amazing.
But even more, I appreciate your explanation about why the words "she's so lucky to have you" about Sara make me cringe. We're all lucky to have found each other but Sara will never have the experience of having someone say "you look just like your mom" and has been denied the opportunity to grow up in the country of her birth.
Thanks so much for writing and sharing this.

Lisa said...

Beautiful.....just as always, you captured so many truths and reflections that I too carry with me along this journey.

Thinking of you.....