Soul Searching

I talk a lot about adoption injustice and reform here, no question. And I know that some adoptive parents find it just to hard to read all the time. I know that the best topic for adoption blogs is kids. But the problem is that my kids are nearly adults, they own their feelings about adoption, and it's not for me to write about them here. I do write about my parenting memories on Komapseumnida, but not so much about adoption. I'm just in a place where my kids are by and large off limits as blog fodder.

So I talk about adoption reform, as I care deeply about it. And I often write about it from a personally-culpable point of view. It might therefore be easy to read and go away thinking I'm consumed by guilt, anti-adoption even. It's just not that simple. Way back I wrote a post in which I asked myself the question "Would my husband and I have still adopted had we known then what we know now?" I answered by saying "I honestly don't know. But to cast that decision in today's light would be a betrayal of the commitment I made to my children then to love them for all time."

If I dig very deeply, I frankly know I would still have adopted, and from Korea again. If someone back then had said, "Don't do it, you're perpetuating Korean attitudes toward single mothers," it wouldn't have been enough to change my mind. I wish I were that noble, but I'm not. No, I would have believed that societal changes were out of my hands, and would have moved forward.

Maybe - definitely? - it's this feeling of hypocrisy that pushes me to keep talking about my role in it all. It it painful to acknowledge that I've been part of a system that has hurt many, many women and men and children. It's more painful still to acknowledge the hypocrisy of talking about adoption injustice and also saying I would still have adopted my children. But this inner conflict is simply the way it is for me.

The fact is that I did adopt. I promised to love my children for all time. I promised their mothers and fathers and country that I would cherish and respect and nurture them. I do, and I always will.

But early on, and unexpectedly, I found I loved the women who gave birth to them, too. I loved the men who helped create them, even though their role may have been more fleeting. I loved their brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. The loss of these has created holes in my children's identities, and holes in my heart. In loving my children's families, I've understood more clearly just how my willingness to adopt has perpetuated the system that separated them in the first place. For me, adoption is now a strange mix of love and joy and hope and despair. I comfort myself by questioning, seeking, digging deep into feelings that I sometimes don't even understand myself. And by loving my kids.

Mostly by loving my kids. Please don't forget that when I'm off in some dark place thinking out loud. And don't forget that I welcome a helping hand in bringing me back.


Anonymous said…

I have 2 girls from China and I feel exactly the same way about their extended families. We have absolutely no way to find out who those people are, though, and that's an even bigger hole.

Lavender Luz said…
First, Margi, your interlude looks like a blast!

Your love for your children is palpable, and I can understand your inner conflict.

I wish I had some words of wisdom, but I don't. Once in awhile, though, I can extend a hand to you.

(But I'm not sure you need it.)

A Fellow Crone
You've reflected for me exactly how I feel more times than I can count. I don't feel broody or overcome, I don't walk around in a shroud of grief. But it is always ALWAYS with me, I think about it, I rarely talk about it with my real life friends, I blog about it and that's how I work through it and with it. I sometimes wonder if it will always be with me and then I read your blog and know it will. And then I read your blog again and am reminded that it is possible to raise great kids and also advocate for change, both. Thank you.
Lavender Luz said…
Ooof. I didn't proof. I DO know how to spell your name.

Just don't know how to type.
Irshlas said…
I was going to leave a comment but then got long winded. In an effort not to hijack, I just wrote my own post. I probably don't have the right words. But I find myself completely conflicted reading your post. I relate but then I don't but then I do. Just too complex. But I do thank you for adding insightful food for thought and making me think. :-)
Karen said…
Since you have years of experience in this, I was just wondering what advice you would give to those of us who are still prospective adoptive parents? Do you have a Top Ten list of things you wish you had known then, or something along those lines to help us out?
Margie, how did I miss that you had another blog? Now I must set aside an entire Spud naptime to catch up! :)

This site makes me uncomfortable and gives me peace at the same time. I'm sure you know what I mean, because often you write so well the things I'm feeling.

I am grateful for your voice.
Michelle said…
Looks Like a fun time. I am a mother in the adoption process and enjoyed reading from your blog today.

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