Individuals

My husband and I have two great kids. They came to us as infants, our son at almost six months, and our daughter at almost four months. They're now 17 and 15.

Our son is the older of the two. He's the intellectual in the family, into theater, drama, music. He's the kind of person who takes everything seriously and to heart, whose emotions are always on his sleeve. He also has a great sense of humor.

Our daughter is the original sunshine child. She's relaxed and happy, sociable and easygoing - except when she's competing in sports, her passion. She can be a cutthroat competitor, but fortunately is a good sport and gets over losses quickly.

How different they are! I remember an incident when they were around two and four that illustrates this perfectly. On the way home from day care one day, the sun began to stream into the back window, getting into their eyes. Our daughter turned her head away to avoid the sunshine, no big deal. Our son, on the other hand, turned directly toward it, raised his hand, and cried, "Stop, sun!!"

Not only were they different from each other, but neither seemed to fit the descriptions of Korean adoptees that I read about in adoption literature. Although I got a lot of good advice from the articles and books I read and programs I attended, I found it had to be applied sparingly, in bits and pieces.

Adoptive parents walk a fine line between over- and under-acknowledging the presence of adoption in our children's lives. We're afraid to miss important cues to adoption-related issues, but at the same don't want to attribute every problem our children experience to adoption.

Adoption is one of many facets of our children's identities. They're individuals, and it's their individuality that we should nurture most of all.

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