100 Thoughts - 100 Posts

This is my 100th post - a good time for a little retrospection and introspection, I think.

I began blogging to share my story and to voice my thoughts on adoption loss – my children’s losses and those of their firsts parents. I honestly didn't know what to expect when I started, except that I anticipated I'd mostly be communicating with other adoptive parents.

But among the first to respond to this blog were first mothers, who have generously opened a dialog with me that has so deepened my understanding of their experience. I thank them all for their willingness to communicate with me, especially Claud, Suz, and Kim. You are the best – brave, wise, and strong, and willing to work hard for others.

I found adoptees here, too, many of whom voiced how torn they were by their adoption experience, also their criticism of society’s refusal to acknowledge how utterly devastating it is to be kept from their identities. With strong, clear voices, they have told their experience, not the one their adoptive parents or first parents would like to believe is true. The amazing Joy, Jae Ran, Ji-In, Susan, Mia, Amy - your voices stand out, thank you for your openness, honesty, and unfailing support for your fellow adoptees.

The adoptive parents came more slowly. I began to look for them online, and found that most were talking about the early years of their adoption experiences - meeting their children, raising their families. Slowly, more have come forward who think and feel as I do, who question what we are doing in adoption and how we are doing it. They have helped me feel less alone with my own thoughts, which sometimes have taken me to very dark places. Wise Roberta, Kahlan and Zoe, Marlene, Ryan, Dawn, Susie, Gwen, Clouds - thank you.

But one thing has stunned me - the disrespect of adoptive parents toward first parents and adoptees, which can be found in insensitive blogs and rude forum dialog. I don’t understand it – it's contrary to simple human civility, and it also makes no sense that the people who benefit from adoption – the adoptive parents – would be blind to the pain of those who suffer because of it. And so eager to judge. Not every adoptive parent behaves this way, of course, but the volume of rudeness I’ve seen online has been shocking.

So going forward I’ll keep writing my thoughts and experiences, for they’re the only thing I can speak of with any authority. Hopefully in doing so, others who see the need for change in adoption will open their hearts to those who grieve the loss of their children and first families, and will begin to speak, to write, and to do something about it.

One of the first posts I wrote still expresses best what's in my heart toward first parents, especially those of my children:

  • I acknowledge your pain
  • I recognize that you were pushed to your decision by circumstances beyond your control
  • I am sad that I have the parenting experience that is rightfully yours
  • I love our children with all my heart
  • I hope you meet and know them one day
Now, almost a year and 100 posts later, I would add this, to adoptees:

  • I acknowledge your pain
  • I believe that the loss of your identity is an affront to your human rights
  • I understand that you are perpetually torn between two families
  • I know that your voice alone can speak to this experience
  • I am listening
And to my fellow adoptive parents:

  • I know you love your children with all your heart, as I love mine
  • I ask you to always remember that our families were created from the pain of others
  • I encourage you to give your children the freedom to express their truths, and to support them as they seek their identities and family connections
  • I beg you to extend respect to the parents and children that have been separated by adoption
Adoption is often expressed as a paradox. We’re all in it together, for better and for worse. Thank you all for being here in the paradox with me.

Comments

Paula O. said…
Margie,

This post literally brought me to tears. I am grateful for the validation and affirmation you consistently offer to both first parents and us adoptees. To see that you, too, have recognized the amount of rudeness (and dare I say, hostility) from fellow APs makes me know that I am not crazy for having the same thoughts. Recent events from fellow APs have inflicted much pain and it is voices such as yours (and other APs who "get it") that keeps my spirits high and my resolve to keep talking more resolute than ever.

Beyond the teething, the potty training and the first haircut, we APs will face much more critical and significant "firsts" with our children. That some APs cannot, or do not want to aknowledge the realities that accompany adoption is truly beyond my comprehension. And for our stories to be minimalized, dismissed and even questioned as truth is inexcuseable. I am eternally grateful to you for continuing to share your thoughts and experiences so eloquently and so honestly. I am so grateful to know you through your writing.

Continued blessings to you and your family! Congrats on the 100th post!!!

Paula O.
KAD & AP
suz said…
yeah, me too, Paula O. Moved me to tears as well. I know too few Margies . We need more like her.

Hugs Margie. Agree. Thanks for the shout out. You keep me here in more ways than you know.

Suz
Terra said…
Thank you Margie!

I am also grateful for the validation and affirmation you consistently offer to both first parents and adoptees.

Adoptive parents both create and reflect adoptive parenting attitudes and social values. We are the generation of adoptive parents who worked towards setting the bounds of privacy while empowering our children to face bothersome questions. We are familiar with the difficulties of fielding intrusive comments, so why are so many in our peer group disrespectful to adopted adults?

As a parent of a Korean-born adult daughter, I've met my share of rude statements, but now the tables are turned. Instead of the inappropriate questions from strangers that trailed me when my kids were young, today the sharp pointed words I hear asked, slip from the mouths of adoptive parents, and are directed towards adopted adults.

In parenting we worry about doing our best to help our children deal with the expectations others may have of them as they get older. So by the time most adult adoptees begin facing the world on their own, they've had years of watching their parents model empowering answers, with a mind set that lets them know they have the right to choose whether and how to respond to intrusive questions.

“In the best interest of the child” is a concept that consistently is embraced as a core principle of adoption. Those children whose best interest we want to protect grow up to be adults. I will walk on hot coals to help spread the awareness that adoptive parents do not have the right to expect to have a level of openness with adults they barely know, just because they happen to have been adopted. Encouraging another parent's adult son or daughter with respect is the most important thing we can do.

Terra Trevor
www.terratrevor.com
Nicole said…
Thank you, Margie.
jana said…
Your words are so beautiful.

I wish those bulleted lists could be on an adoption poster, or something, in the lobby of every adoption agency in this country. Or in some sort of litany at adoption ceremonies. Something.

I'm so glad you exist.
Dylan said…
This post in moved me to tears. Maggie, you eloquently stated the concerns, feelings, and inner conflict those who have been touched by adoption face and experience.

Thank you.

One of my passions is bringing healing to the experience of adoption. I advocate for the babies as they move through their early experience and help parents understand how to support their babies grief and loss while they are still young. (see my ebook for sale on this issue).

I also work with adult adoptees with their early experiences.

I am grateful to people like you, who are dedicated to understanding adoption and all its facets.
joy said…
ha ha linked you
Congrats on the 100th post. This is a really beautiful one. You have such a strong clear voice!

I too am shocked and amazed at how ugly APs can be. Cruelty from fear and insecurity? Or what? How can one be so eager to love and so hateful at the same time?
kim.kim said…
Thank you Margie.
jayme said…
Margie,

Thank you for sharing your eloquent and much needed perspective with us. As a (soon to be) adoptive parent, I have been struggling with how to fully honour my childrens' first family. Thank you for going before us and allowing us to learn from your experiences.

Jayme
susie said…
:) made me happy.
zoe said…
Congrats on your 100th post, Margie. I remember what a relief it was to make cyber-contact with you - you've been such a voice of reason and encouragement! I join you in your endeavor to listen to others' voices and to honor their experiences.

Thanks for linking our blog.
Reunited Dan said…
Beautiful thoughts.

I read somewhere that the adoption process is painful for all involved including the adoptive parents.
mgpdirect said…
To listen, to learn, to acknowledge and be acknowledged.

Margie, you are fearless! Congrats on the 100 post marker!
Susan said…
Dear Margie,
I have been so blown away and moved by your compassion and openness and willingness to hear and take in things that are often painful. I think you are so brave and loving and I really am glad to have come to "know" you.

Onward to another 100 awesome posts!!
Big hugs
Gwen said…
Thank you Margie!

What a beautiful post!
Syd said…
Thank you. I just found your blog, what a wonderful post to read first. I am the adoptive mother of two. My daughter is Caucasian, and my son is African American. I just love how you were able to put my thoughts into words. My children are fairly young, two and four. Thank you for your post. I worry about so many things raising them, being able to help them find their way in the world. I will continue to read your blog and learn from you. Thank you.
DS-L said…
Perfect. Pain and love, grief and joy, sadness and fulfillment can coexist in one family, in one person.
DS-L
Karen M said…
That was lovely, Margie!
Anonymous said…
Margie,

Congrats on your 100th post.

Your blog is always and edifying read. Thanks for the compassion and understanding you extend to all connected by adoption.
Mama Nabi said…
Congrats on 100th post - I remember when we first became "blog friends"; you stood out as someone with much grace, humility, love, understanding... I'm proud to be part of your blog community.
Brandi said…
Beautifully written, and also my introduction to your blog, which is now bookmarked! As an adoptive mom of a soon to be 1 year old, who has real, actual, respectful relationships with his first parents and grandparents, I am constantly appalled at some of the utterances and attitudes of other APs and PAPs I come across.

I believe the seeming hate is actually irrational and unreasonable fear and insecurity...that is worriesome to me, as how can one raise a secure and confident person if they themselves are so lost in fear?

I believe that since APs really have the power under current adoption practices, we have to be at the forefront of change and reform, and we have to be the ones who listen to the other members of the adoption plane. If not us, then who? The "loser birthparents" the "angry, ungrateful adopted child" (feel free to insert your own your most hated stereotypes, there)? Certainly not those that make enormous profits, the agencies and attorneys.

I am rambling. Anyway, thanks for your blog and your voice, I, for one, am listening.
Overwhelmed! said…
Margie,

Congrats on your 100th post. This is a beautiful post. As an adoptive parent, I appreciated your advice. Thank you.
Michelle Steffen 11/26/1990 said…
"* I am sad that I have the parenting experience that is rightfully yours"
I am a "first mom". I was given the gift of my son, at a time in my life when I was unable to take care of myself, let alone a child. I have passed on this gift of life to my son's Mommy and Daddy. This was done with love, for him,and also for them. We are forever tied together.
I did not name my son. I wanted you to have that honor. When I was in the hospital, I held my son. But I did not feed him. I wanted his Mommy and Daddy to have that honor also. I held him and rocked him, I looked into his face for so long. We stared at each other. And of course, I cried as I said farewell. I prayed for my son and his family to be happy and healthy. I continue this prayer today.
Please do not be sad. You are an extension of me. Please fo not feel guilt. I have only had 2 regrets 1 That circumstances (that I myself created) were that I could not care for my son and 2 That I did not have an open adoption, which I did have a choice, but was afraid that it would be confusing for my son.

Thank you Margie for you site. I found it just today

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