Truth and Humility

The past couple of weeks have been turbulent ones in my adoption world. Many issues, many reactions, lots of pain, anger, and recrimination.

Obviously any discussion of adoption will be emotional. Adoption is an experience that cuts to the core, defining those who live it with its many trademarks – joy, grief, love, anguish, and more, all surfacing in different ways, at different times, and sometimes in contradiction to one another.

All of the discord I have recently seen has all made me wonder if there are any common truths in adoption, truths that hold across every similar experience. I’m not talking about the kinds of things we each hold in our hearts as truths for ourselves, like the love we express for our children or parents lost or known through adoption. Nor am I talking about statistical truths, the numbers of people believing one way or another. What I’m talking about are simple facts, indisputable, black and white. Absolutes.

And the only truths I can find are these:
  • Adoption separates one family
  • Adoption brings one family together
These truths are opposites. With greater or lesser intensity, pain and loss will always weave through the lives of those who have been separated by adoption, and joy and fulfillment through those the lives of those brought together. And they collide in the lives of those who have been adopted.

These truths aren't equal, they aren't two halfs of a whole experience. Everything starts with the losses sustained by that first family. No matter how happy that second family may be, no matter the love they share, it will always trace back to the losses of the first. Understanding that has humbled me.

I'm not talking about a self-deprecating kind of humility, I'm talking about the kind of humility that eliminates the need to justify one experience by invalidating another, or to label those with passionate perspectives as angry, bitter, or emotionally unstable. By humility I simply mean the state of mind that allows us - and by "us" I mean me and my fellow adoptive parents - to listen to, accept, and learn from the experiences of others, without judgment.

I think we could use a lot of this kind of humility at the moment, at least in my adoption world.


Melissa said…
Wow. So well stated. I wish I could get my words together as well. Perhaps the day will come . . .
Dawn said…
Man, you NAILED that!!
MomEtc. said…
I'm pretty new to your blog! That was an awesome post! well written. said…
I strive for that, to not be putting someone else down, to have humility. I really love your blog.
Dawn said…
Loved your comments so much I linked to it in my posting! Thanks for sharing!
Ryan said…
Wow... it realy does just come down to that, doesn't it? As an AP I will never truely know what an adoptee feels, but this is good to keep in mind.
Speakingformyself said…
Yes! I kept saying this when I had my blog up ... and when I resurrected it for a few weeks in June. (I actually had a post entitled "empathy takes work" (as does humility) in which I referenced you ... but I think you were in Korea.)

The world, in general,would be a better place if empathy and humility were held supreme ... and, man, does it take hard work. We try, we fall short, we try again.
The Goos Family said…
Very well said. I so appreciate your humility and have found your voice very refreshing on the agency forum. I'm really learning from you as one who has gone ahead and travelled down this journey of adoption. I have 2 daughters a bio and a adoptive child and am in the early stages of our adoption journey. But your posts have poignantly made me think. Thank you and hoping to learn more from your humility and wisdom as the years go on.

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