I was going to put up an Open Mike on the subject of how polarized adoption dialog often is, but I've changed my mind. I've posted my thoughts on this subject more than once (here and here), and I've also shared my point of view on adoption as a response to poverty, which appears to be at the root of the recent debate. I have the feeling that trying to talk about why so many of us are at the poles will go nowhere.

And anyway, HeatherS sent me a link to a post of hers that I hadn't yet read. It really hit a chord, and has triggered a lot of thinking, and questioning. Go read, and come back.

Those who know my family's adoption story (which I tell with my children's approval) know that my children's adoptions are essentially closed. We have their parents names, have made contact with one mother, but our children haven't yet reunited with their Korean families. I hope, I pray, but I also acknowledge that since my kids are teens, my own efforts here must come to a close. They are old enough to make their own decisions and take their own actions, and they know that my husband and I are here to support them any way we can.

I wonder sometimes, though, if I really tried hard enough. The prevailing wisdom when my children were younger was that adoptive parents should stay out of their children's searches. My husband and I therefore never felt entirely comfortable taking the initiative. In spite of examples to the contrary, we feared the disastrous consequences that were likely to follow finding a Korean mother, and the negative emotional impact to our children of a forced or usurped search. It's been hard to know what's right.

We had a chance to move closer to reunion in 2001, and did take our first steps in that direction then. But once it was clear that a reunion wouldn't happen, at least not then, we stopped. We were afraid to push, even though our child had much to lose if we didn't. It seemed as if everywhere we looked for guidance, we found only cautions: don't disrupt the mother's life; don't force a reunion too soon; don't take the search away from your child.

There is wisdom here, I know, in individual cases and under specific circumstances. But I wonder now if these generalizations really served my children well. How much have they lost because we held back? And how much would they have gained had we not?

I'm having an ever more difficult time accepting that we did the right thing, especially when I see example after example of open adoption that works for the child, for the mother, for the family. And although there's no question that culture must be respected, I question in the case of Korean adoption if closed adoption is the only way to respect it. Privacy and secrecy are two different things, and I wish I had tried harder to find a solution that would have made openness possible for my children.

I know there are no guarantees that search will lead to reunion, or that reunion will lead to relationship. But when I read HeatherS' post, I see so many things my children may never have: the first-hand knowledge of their mothers' love, maybe their fathers', too; the chance to learn their family history, and to know their relatives - siblings, perhaps; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins.

And then there's the knowledge HeatherS' son will have that his entire family was willing to come together for him - to do their best to understand and respect one another, to compromise through disagreement, and most of all, to acknowledge one another's importance in his life.



Cookie said…
Hi Third Mom! Answering your question from my "Cookie" blog - I have been blogging at I just stopped doing the adoption search/reunion blog there, but am still doing the first parent blog there.

jkaiseresquire said…
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. God bless.
Heather said…
Margie, thank you for your kind words. I hope your kids do get a chance to have those things with their families some day.

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